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Mississippi River towns brace for rising floodwaters

Mississippi River towns in Illinois and Missouri are expecting floodwaters to crest soon. So far, the damage is limited, but one community is already under voluntary evacuation orders.


Kaskaskia River flooding hit the marina in New Athens, Ill., Monday. Mississippi River towns are facing cresting floodwaters Tuesday.

Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat/AP

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Heavy rain from the weekend sent water over the top of a levee and a sandbag barrier near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, leading to the evacuation of about 300 people in Missouri. Farther south, the Mississippi River topped 40 feet near St. Louis late Monday – about 10 feet from the level usually considered a major flood. The height is expected to hold until Wednesday.

The only evacuations reported so far are in West Alton, Mo., a town of 573 people located between both rivers, where late Monday evening authorities issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents. The waters overtopping both the levee and the temporary sandbag barrier are moving slowly toward roadways that lead directly to town.

“Its beat us twice, and we’re still going to keep on working towards it, but we need to let our residents know what is going on,” Fire Chief Richard Pender of the Rivers Pointe Fire District told KSDK-TV. The bridge across the Mississippi River connecting West Alton to Alton, Ill., is temporarily closed.


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