ST. LOUIS (CN) – Torrential rains and above average snowfall have produced record flooding in Missouri. Parts of the state received more than 8 inches of rain Tuesday and five deaths have been reported in Missouri and two in Illinois due to flash flooding. The main concern is along the Meramec River, expected to crest at over 40 feet, more than twice flood stage.
On Thursday, President George W. Bush declared Missouri a federal disaster area. Gov. Matt Blunt activated the National Guard and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared 19 counties disaster areas.
Along the Meramec River in Fenton, 15 miles southwest of St. Louis, officials expected 50 volunteers on Thursday and more than 500 showed up.
Today (Friday) the focus shifted to the intersection of Interstate 44 and Highway 141 in Fenton. Flood waters are expected to top the interstate at its crest on Saturday, but crews have lined the interstate, a main route for thousands of St. Louis commuters, with concrete barriers and will spend the day lining the barriers with sand bags.
Flood waters have covered Highway 141 in the area and more than 25 roads in St. Louis County were closed due to flooding. The rivers are expected to crest this weekend.