A flooded house rammed into a bridge in Arkansas, pushed along by powerful rushing water and captured on video -- just one of the moments of destruction from the deadly flooding pummeling parts of the Midwest this week.
Although flood waters are receding in some areas, severe thunderstorms are still wreaking havoc in four Midwest states: Hundreds of homes and businesses have suffered damage in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois. In addition, flooding is blamed in at least nine deaths, and an 18-month-old Arkansas girl swept away by floodwater is missing and presumed dead.
“We never expected to witness a house be destroyed,” said Laura Redus, who was with her boyfriend when they saw it happen in Reyno, about 180 miles northeast of Little Rock. “The force of it shook the bridge it was crazy and scary!”
Major flooding has unfolded on the Missouri River in eastern Missouri and the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois. A Mississippi River bridge at Chester, Illinois, will close at noon Thursday because flood gates on the Missouri side will block the bridge entrance.
City officials in tiny West Alton, Missouri, about 20 miles north of St. Louis, urged residents to get out of town amid concerns the Missouri River levee there could break.
The Meramec River in suburban St. Louis also is on the decline. A levee at Valley Park, Missouri, is holding, as is a sandbag levee consisting of 250,000 bags in nearby Eureka. But the river remains dangerously high, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar urged patience for evacuated residents anxious to get back home.
Hundreds of roads across the four states remain closed, including a busy stretch of Interstate 44 in suburban St. Louis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.