Hundreds Homeless as Rains Continue to Pound Midwest

from Associated Press

Renewed flooding in the saturated Midwest forced hundreds of people from their homes, closed roads and washed away mobile homes Saturday, even as people were still cleaning up from a summer of high water.

As much as seven inches of rain fell overnight, on top of two previous days of heavy rain.

Many rivers in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma were forecast to crest over the weekend, but officials said that would mean little.

"Remember in July and August we had several different crests," said Rob Pilkington of the Missouri Emergency Management Agency in Jefferson City. "I don't think we're going to see the seas part and the water go away."

Dozens of county roads and some state highways in Missouri were closed by high water, and a trucker was rescued after his rig was washed off a highway.

In eastern Missouri, cleanup work stopped and sandbagging resumed in the Chesterfield Valley of St. Louis County, where hundreds of businesses were flooded in July. The city worked to reinforce a 6,000-foot-long levee.

"It's just astounding," said Jefferson County Commissioner Ron Casey. "No one would have ever thought we'd be right back in the soup so soon."

Hundreds of residents from unincorporated areas of the county were displaced and evacuations continued Saturday in at least one subdivision, Casey said. Sandbagging operations were in full force along the swollen Meramec, Big and Mississippi rivers.

In southwest Missouri, mobile homes and propane tanks floated away on the rising James River in Stone County after up to seven inches of rain fell in that area overnight and early Saturday, said sheriff's dispatcher Kent Doucey.

Evacuations were ordered overnight and Saturday in the village of Abesville, Mo., along Bull Creek in Taney County and in Rockaway Beach, but officials said no estimates were available on how many people were affected. An additional 30 to 40 people were evacuated from a mobile home park in Monett.

In southeast Kansas, officials began assessing damage Saturday as water began to recede after more than 15 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Pittsburg.

Water got as deep as eight feet on some city streets, and firefighters on Friday evacuated about 40 people from their homes.

In Oklahoma, up to 150 people were evacuated from northeast Miami after four to six inches of rain inundated nearby Tar Creek, said Terry Duborow, the city's Civil Defense director.

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