Five Die, Hundreds Evacuated In Missouri Flooding
Undated (AP) _ Floods swept parts of the Mississippi Valley, killing five people and forcing hundreds from their homes, after heavy rains left up to 6 feet of water standing in some areas.
″I’ve been here about 52 years and this is the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s just unbelievable how fast the water came up,″ said Flat River, Mo., Police Chief Bill Holloway. ″It just picked up cars and moved them, and washed railroad tracks out.″
A New York judge, hiking in Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest, drowned as he tried to find a way across rain-swollen Little Mulberry Creek, Johnson County Sheriff Charles Nicklas said.
James H. Boomer, 71, presided over the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court at Rochester.
In Missouri, Jessica Carpenter and April Warwick, both 18, of Rogersville, drowned early Sunday when high water swept their car off a bridge in Christian County, Mo.
Dallas Landers, 60, of Patterson was swept downstream and drowned Sunday morning when he tried to drive across a rain-swollen creek in Wayne County in southeast Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol said.
Gary Freeman, 32, of Bernie, died Sunday morning when he tried to drive across a creek near Fredericktown and his car was swept about 60 feet downstream, the patrol said. Freeman was trapped in the car and drowned.
In the town of Elvins, near Flat River and about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis, about 350 of the 1,500 citizens had to be evacuated Sunday, Holloway said.
At least 300 people were unable to return to their homes by late Sunday night, Holloway said. Some stayed at a shelter set up at a local church. There was up to 6 feet of water in some areas.
The National Weather Service said most rivers in the state had either crested Sunday night or were expected to crest early today. Todd McShea, a meteorologist with the weather service, said heavy rains could return to southeast Missouri on Tuesday.
Rescuers plan to resume searching today for a man swept away Sunday by the rain-swollen Castor River, about 125 miles southwest of St. Louis.
Authorities in Madison and Bollinger counties have yet to identify the man, who was last seen Sunday morning clinging to a property fence along the river about 35 miles west of Cape Girardeau, Mo. Witnesses said the man lost hold of the fence and disappeared under the fast-moving river.
On Sunday evening, the Bollinger County sheriff’s department rescued three hunters stranded on top of a building near the Castor River. In Crawford County, a spokesman in the sheriff’s office said Sunday night that he had reports of several hunters and campers stranded.
About 50 people were evacuated from the town of Ellington and were staying at the high school, a Red Cross spokesman said.
Ozark County crews rescued a group of about a dozen campers stranded in the Caney Mountain Hunting area on Sunday.
In neighboring Illinois, rain-swollen rivers forced the evacuation Sunday of more than 100 homes in the central and southern part of the state, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency said. There were no reports of flooding- related injuries.