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One child dead, mother missing in Missouri flooding

August 07, 2013|By Michael Muskal

At least one child has been killed and major roads in parts of Missouri have been closed by floods caused by days of fierce rains, officials said on Wednesday.

Interstate 44, which runs from Springfield to St. Louis, has been closed at mile marker 174, causing motorists to face detours of up to 125 miles, Dale Moore, the public information officer for the emergency response team, told the Los Angeles Times. A 4-year-old has been killed and his mother is missing because of the flooded rivers in and around Pulaski County, he said.

Three rivers converge around Waynesville and one, the Gasconade River, is already well above its flood stage of 20 feet. The river is expected to crest at around 32 feet sometime on Thursday, said Moore, adding the storm system has been erratic and hard to predict.

“We had more rain last night and that has pushed the rivers out of their banks,” he said by telephone. “There is lots more rain predicted and we’ve got water everywhere.”

At least 30 homes have been destroyed, but that number is expected to increase as damage-assessment teams continue their work, Moore said. Several hundred people have been evacuated in Waynesville and Newburg, Mo., he said.

Flood warnings were posted by the National Weather Service for parts of Laclede, Phelps, Bourbon, Pulaski, Vernon and Bates counties. At least five rivers were approaching or were already above flood stage.

About six inches of rain fell on the area on Wednesday, but the National Weather Service said that some parts of the region have received more than a foot of rain in recent days. The rains are expected to continue through at least Thursday and parts of Friday.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday was briefed by local officials and sent 50 military police officers from the Missouri National Guard to assist local civil authorities.

On Tuesday, the governor declared a state of emergency after heavy rains caused flash flooding and at least one confirmed death in the Waynesville area. The dead boy had apparently had been in a vehicle that got caught in the flooding, officials said.

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