ST. LOUIS, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The death toll in Missouri reached 14 on Thursday as local residents brace for more devastating flooding and a possible dip in temperatures that could cause a freeze.
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from areas around St. Louis while three major interstate roadways have been closed as the floodwaters from the Mississippi River and its tributaries continue. The river is not expected to crest in some areas until late Thursday.
Local officials are asking drivers to stay off the roads.
"If you don't have to travel, don't because we have so many areas being impacted," Shaunda White, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said. "We are trying to work with what we can. We're just asking people to stay home, if they can."
Jay Nixon (@GovJayNixon) December 30, 2015
The storm is to blame for killing at least 55 people since last week, when it brought tornadoes and blizzards to Texas. Authorities said the fourth deaths in Missouri and two additional in neighboring Illinois brings the total for the two states above 20.
Per Rivers Pointe Fire Protection Dist: Flood Alert for Portage Des Sioux - see screenshot below pic.twitter.com/eJccwCXEO4— St Charles County MO (@sccmo) December 30, 2015
The National Weather Service said flooding can be expected in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, with record flooding at several locations.
"Major flooding is also occurring on the Arkansas River and tributaries in Arkansas. Floodwaters will move downstream over the next couple of weeks, with significant river flooding expected for the lower Mississippi into mid-January," forecasters said.
Expected freezing temperatures in the coming days, coupled with the flooding, will add to the challenges.