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Flooding closes I-44 in both directions; National Guard called in

WAYNESVILLE, MO (KTVI) – The Missouri Department of Transportation says Interstate 44 between Rolla and Jerome in Phelps County is closed in both directions.

Floodwaters from the Gasconade River have flowed over the highway, making it impassible.

Check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map

MoDOT has also closed Route 63 south of Vienna in Maries County. Get detour suggestions HERE.

On Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency for people living in south-central and other parts of Missouri.Wednesday morning Governor Nixon ordered 50 members of the Missouri National Guard to help people affected by flash flooding in southern Missouri.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has also deployed marine operations troopers, a rescue helicopter and associated assets to the region to assist emergency responders.

The emergency resources and personnel will remain in place until the threat has passed. The State’s Emergency Management Agency is working with local response agencies to provide additional support.

Water from two creeks have converged on Waynesville and caused extensive damage.

More than 100 homes flooded overnight as rain moved through.

Rainfall totals have been extreme near Springfield and Rolla.  In some spots more than a foot of rain has fallen since the weekend.

So far, record flooding has been forecast on the Gasconade River at Jerome and Rich Fountain, Missouri.

Top rainfall so far is a storm total of 17.0″ since Tuesday in Richland, Missouri, in Laclede County.

Flash Flooding is a major threat in these spots. Another 2-4 inches of rain could fall through Wednesday morning in some of these rain soaked areas.

To help ease rising water along the rivers, Ameren has started releasing more water from Bagnell Dam down the Osage River. Residents downriver from the dam have been warned about rising water levels.

Find out more about Bagnell Dam: http://www.ameren.com/sites/aue/lakeoftheozarks/Pages/BagnellDam.aspx

Meteorologist Chris Higgins says the latest forecast from the National Weather Service forecasts a crest of 23ft at St. Thomas, Missouri, which is right at flood stage. The output from Bagnell Dam is forecast to reach 90,000 cubic feet per second. The normal flow rate this time of year is about 10,000 cfs. In addition, record flooding is forecast along the Gasconade River at Rich Fountain. Additional storms are possible later Wednesday and Wednesday night in the flood zone.

Some Waynesville residents are now in a community center shelter to stay dry.  Teh American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter from Jefferson City is assisting evacuees. The evacuation order that was issued on Tuesday will not be lifted until Wednesday night at the earliest.

Find out how to help the Red Cross Heart of Missouri chapter: http://www.redcross.org/mo/jefferson-city

Wednesday afternoon, the US Forest Service announced Mark Twain National Forest has temporarily closed campgrounds in south-central Missouri due to flash flooding. Campgrounds currently temporarily closed include:

  • Lane Spring Recreation Area off Highway 63 south, Phelps County
  • Paddy Creek Wilderness Campground, Texas County
  • East Gate, Pulaski County
  • Stone Mill Spring, Pulaski County
  • Mill Creek, Newburg, Phelps County
  • North Fork Recreation Area, Ozark County
  • Noblett Recreation Area, Douglas County
  • Float Camp and Deer Leap Recreation Areas, Ripley County
  •  Watercress Recreation Area, Carter County

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Visit Mark Twain National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf  for more information.

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4-year-old dies in flooding; Governor Nixon declares state of emergency