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Residents watch river levels rise

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Julie Bierach, KWMU
/
Highway 30 in Byrnesville, MO.

By KWMU/AP

St. Louis, MO – President Bush has approved federal aid for areas of Missouri affected by flooding and severe weather. Governor Blunt requested both individual assistance and public assistance for 70 counties and the city of St. Louis.

Record amounts of rain earlier this week across most of Missouri has left behind a soggy mess of flooded-out roads, stranded motorists and displaced residents.

Authorities are straining to keep pace with some of the worst flooding to hit their region in decades. Five people have died so far as flood waters continue to rise across portions of southern and eastern Missouri.

Lt. John Hotz with the State Highway Patrol warns people to avoid flooded areas, "Any time you see water, it may not look like it's very deep, but if it's running across the roadway, it is strong enough that it could not only cause a person to be swept away, but it could cause a vehicle to be swept away as well."

Hotz says sandbagging efforts are underway along various levees and at some school facilities across the state, as flood waters are expected to rise over the next two days. More than 240 state roads had some water covering them.

The American Red Cross has opened two 24-hour emergency shelters in St. Louis and Jefferson Counties and the Pacific Police Department has opened another shelter in Franklin County for residents needed safe refuge.

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