COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — At least two people died as rain storms lingered across Missouri and caused widespread flooding over the weekend, and state officials are preparing for more flooding in the days ahead.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said Sunday that he had activated the National Guard, so troops can help prepare for the flooding and fill sandbags. Several rivers are expected to crest near historic levels with the worst of the flooding in southern Missouri.
“These floods may well be deep and destructive,” Greitens said.
Officials are watching the Meramec and Mississippi rivers closely as they approach their crests early this week, but flash flooding is possible across most of the state and other rivers could cause problems. Both deaths in the storms happened after floodwaters swept vehicles off the road in two separate incidents. One of the deaths was a 72-year-old woman whose body wasn’t found until floodwaters receded Saturday. Authorities didn’t immediately provide details of the other death.
First responders performed 111 evacuations and 135 rescues across Missouri over the weekend.
The National Weather Service estimates that between 6 inches and 10 inches of rain fell across most of other southern end of the state between Friday morning and Sunday morning. And more rain fell through the day Sunday.
Meteorologist Jim Sieveking told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a weak tornado was confirmed Saturday near the Lake Center Marina in north St. Charles County. That tornado knocked over several trees and flipped over some boats on trailers. Several docks were destroyed at the marina.
More than 350 roads were closed across the state because of flooding Sunday, including part of Interstate 44, and are expected to remain closed for several days. Interstate 44 is closed between Rolla and Lebanon, and the Missouri Transportation Department said it’s not likely to reopen until near the end of the week.
Other major road closures include U.S. Highway 61, which is closed north of Troy, and U.S. Highway 60, which is restricted to one lane of traffic in each direction.