AP: Mo. National Guard to help as flooding continues

Aug. 07, 2013 @ 01:20 PM

Heavy thunderstorms early Wednesday hit already saturated areas of south-central Missouri, where one child has been reported killed and a woman remains missing in flooding that also has forced the closure of major highways and a handful of evacuations.

The Missouri Department of Transportation closed Interstate 44 south of Rolla along the Gasconade River, and U.S. 63 in Maries County after about 6 inches of rain fell in the area early Wednesday. Traffic was being rerouted several miles around the flooded sections of the highways, said Sgt. Dan Crain, spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol in Rolla.

The National Weather Service said the Gasconade River at Rich Fountain was about 4 feet below flood stage, the point at which water is high enough to cause flooding, early Wednesday. It was expected to reach its 20-foot flood stage later Wednesday and rise to near 32 feet early Thursday, depending on how much more rain hits the area.

"It's a real mess," Crain said. "We're encouraging folks to be really careful. When there's water over the roads, don't take the chance. Don't take the risk. Please turn around."

Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday also ordered the deployment of 50 military policemen of the Missouri National Guard to help local authorities dealing with flooding. Nixon declared a state of emergency Tuesday after heavy rains caused flash flooding and at least one confirmed death in the Waynesville area.