Torrential rains which drenched the Midwest earlier in the week are causing major flooding on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and was on site to inspect flood damage on Saturday.
Nixon conducted an aerial inspection of the region northwest of St. Louis from St. Charles up to Louisiana, MO. Nixon also paid a visit to the riverside community of Clarksville, where a sandbag levee is the only thing protecting the downtown business district.
Nixon praised the work of volunteers and members of the Missouri National Guard who’ve been working around the clock for the past 48 hours.
“Because of the way this rain happened, it came relatively quickly, the water will rise relatively quickly and it go down relatively quickly,” said Nixon. “That doesn’t make it fun for anyone involved, but if we can withstand that high water mark here, it is our full expectation that the city of Clarksville will be open for business once this water recedes.”
Floodwaters in Clarksville are expected to crest on Sunday.
The Army Corps of Engineers has closed most of the locks between the Quad Cities and St. Louis, brining barge traffic was at a halt.
Major General Steve Danner says the National Guard will remain ready through Tuesday, when more rain is expected to fall on the region.
“We brought in Task Force Bear on Friday,” said Danner. “Which is part of our joint headquarters task force and we have approximately 50 soldiers online right now working the sandbag line through the community.”
A portion of the river south of St. Louis closed late on Saturday after around 80 barges broke loose south of St. Louis.
The U.S. Coast Guard received a report last night that multiple barges broke away from their tow and were floating quickly toward Jefferson Barracks Bridge in south St. Louis County.
The Missouri Department of Transportation closed the bridge for an inspection at 2 a.m. on Sunday and reopened around 8 a.m. The Coast Guard closed the river for about a 15-mile stretch because of the loose barges.
The river is cresting at some spots north of St. Louis, but remains on the rise south of the city. River traffic is mostly at a standstill from the Quad Cities to St. Louis because most locks have been closed.
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