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Sandbags added to protect West Alton town from 2 rivers

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ More sandbags are being piled on top of levees in an evacuated eastern Missouri city, but local officials are confident the area will stay dry as floodwaters recede.

West Alton’s 500 residents live near the confluence of the nation’s two largest rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi. Both rivers were at major flood stage Friday and water was seeping over levees at West Alton.

But emergency manager Gary Machens says sandbags are being placed to stop the water, and he’s confident the levees will hold.

Heavy rainfall last weekend led to a sudden surge in rivers across several Midwestern states. Nine deaths have been blamed on flooding so far: five in Missouri and four in Arkansas.

Most smaller rivers are falling sharply, but the Mississippi is expected to crest over the weekend in some towns in Missouri and Illinois.