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LONDON MILLS, Ill. (AP) - A flood-swollen river in central Illinois has topped a levee and inundated parts of London Mills, prompting authorities to evacuate about half of the small town of about 500 people.
Police chief Scott Keithley says the waters overwhelmed the levee on the Spoon River overnight sending torrents of water into yards and sewers already running out of control because of the heavy rains. He says some homes are half under water.
Keithley says authorities and volunteers have given up filling sandbags in the town, a small community of farm workers.
The water has pushed debris into the town and sent abandoned cars floating.
Flash floods and rivers that have quickly risen to record or near-record levels have inundated communities around the state.
Gov. Pat Quinn has issued a disaster declaration.
The city of St. Louis is closing several flood gates to keep the Mississippi River out of the city after heavy rain swept through the region on Thursday.
The St. Louis City Streets Department began closing and raising the gates Friday morning as the river is expected to crest on Wednesday at 39.5 feet.
Officials closed four gates Friday and erected the gates at Poplar Street and Carr Street along Lenore K. Sullivan Boulevard.
City officials said crews would continue to shut gates throughout the weekend. They said the schedule could change depending on the latest forecasts and needs of businesses impacted by the rising river.
The City of St. Peters is making preparations at a number of facilities in the interest of public safety and threat of flooding.
Currently, five St. Peters City Parks’ facilities are closed including:
• Woodlands Park
• Rabbit Run Park
* Lone Wolf Park
• Brown Road Park
• Sports Center Park
• St. Peters Municipal Golf Course
As of dusk Friday (7 p.m.), 370 Lakeside Park will also be closed to the general public.
These St. Peters City Parks will be closed until the threat of flooding has ended.
The city says it will provide updated information via a special FLOODWATCH section on the home page of their website, www.stpetersmo.net