More rain forecast for rain-weary Midwest

June 26, 2008 at 7:01 AM
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ST. LOUIS, June 26 (UPI) -- Heavy rains and forecasts for more rain dashed officials' hopes of taking pressure off rain-soaked levees holding back the Mississippi River north of St. Louis.

The National Weather Service predicts the Mississippi to rise until at least Friday at St. Louis and points upstream, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Severe weather is expected to target the Upper Midwest through Friday, AccuWeather.com reported, renewing flooding problems in the mid-Mississippi Valley area. Waves of thunderstorms were forecast to move across the area Thursday with the potential of producing damaging winds, hail, locally heavy downpours and tornadoes.

Meanwhile St. Louis and 22 counties in Missouri were declared federal disaster areas, which will help defray flood-control costs and cleanup, officials said. One immediate effect: The government will pick up 75 percent of the cost of sandbags, bottled water and other necessities.

The Pin Oak levee near Winfield, Mo., continues to hold back the Mississippi, which has overwhelmed other levees and swamped about 40,000 acres in Pike and Lincoln counties, state officials said. National Guard personnel and other volunteers have been shoring up the soggy earthen barricade with sandbags and plastic sheathing.

Ben Miller, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said thunderstorms dumped up to 6 inches in some areas of the rain-weary state. More storms could erupt for the next several days, he told the Post-Dispatch.

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