Swollen Meramec expected to close I-44 near St. Louis; may shut down I-55

VALLEY PARK, MO (KTVI) The rising Meramec River is closing roads in Valley Park and posing a threat much like the flood in December 2015.

MoDOT closed Route 141 northbound and southbound at Interstate 44 Sunday night, with more closures in the region expected throughout the week.

Through recent flooding incidents, Valley Park residents have learned it is never too early to learn the art of sandbagging.

"My first question is like have you sandbagged before and everyone is like yeah, all the time," said AmeriCorps. Volunteer Tiara Johnson. "So it's really helpful to have people come out for their community."

"It's a great feeling that people want to come and help the community, whether the people live here or they're from out of town," said Valley Park Mayor Mike Pennise. "They're all calling and [asking] where to go and anything they can do to help. It's really great to see people are willing to come together and work together."

After more than a half-foot of rain fell in St. Louis in the last four days, Interstate 44 will likely close tomorrow night from Route 109 to Interstate 270, just as it did in 2015.

MoDOT is also bracing for a closure of Interstate 55 at the Meramec River.

The National Weather Service said at a news conference Sunday that the good news is the Meramec is expected to crest at 43 feet in St. Louis County later this week, just a hair short of the record 44 feet set in 2015.

"Most of those points have forecasts that are currently a little bit below the December 2015 floods of record," said National Weather Service Hydrologist Mark Fusch. "This would include cities like Pacific, Eureka, Valley Park, Arnold and Fenton."

Residents and volunteers in Valley Park know the drill by know, hoping for the best as they prepare for the worst.

"I just love how people come together," Johnson said. "From all over they want to come out for 5 minutes, they even want to bring their 10-year-old kid and just help out any way they can."

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