Dec 30, 2015 9:20 AM by Cheryl Wengren
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Officials are warning residents in parts of Illinois and Missouri that hundreds of homes could be flooded by a rising Mississippi River and its tributaries.
At least 20 deaths in the two states over the past several days are being blamed on flooding. Two central Illinois residents have drowned in floodwaters, raising the state's death toll since the weekend to seven.
The mayor of the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park is ordering mandatory evacuations for a portion of the town of about 6,900 residents as the fast-rising Meramec River threatens a levee. Many people had already left that area but those who didn't were told to evacuate by 10 a.m.
Interstate 44 is closed in multiple locations in Missouri because of flooding. The Missouri Department of Transportation says the closures include westbound and eastbound stretches of the interstate in central Missouri's Phelps County and in the St. Louis area.