Persistent river flooding to continue in central US

While mainly dry weather is in the forecast for the central U.S. through the middle of the week, major flooding will persist along area rivers.

High water levels will continue to impact travel along the Mississippi River as navigation and port operations are compromised.

As of Sunday morning, 10 deaths were attributed to the flooding - mostly due to attempts to cross flooded roadways.

While many roads, including major interstates, were closed in the St. Louis area last week, they are slowly re-opening as flood waters recede and authorities clear mud and debris.

Washington, Missouri, located about 50 miles west of St. Louis along the Missouri River, canceled school for the entirety of last week as many roads were impassable.

There, the river crested at major flood stage on Thursday and is forecast to fall to action stage by Monday.

While officials are hoping to resume school on Monday, reports that there is skepticism regarding the conditions of the roads even after flood waters recede.

The Red Cross and local charities and resource centers have sprung into action in the St. Louis area, collecting and distributing food, personal hygiene items and clothing to those who have been displaced.

Communities south of St. Louis can expect area rivers to remain in major flood stage for much of the week as water continues to surge downstream.

By Monday, the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, will crest near the record of 48.9 feet set on Jan. 2, 2016, according to data compiled by National Weather Service hydrologists and the United States Geological Survey.

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Residents of Osceola, Arkansas, can expect the Mississippi River to crest at major flood stage on Tuesday, despite a dry forecast and current river levels being only in action stage.

“River levels in some portions of these states will reach moderate flood stage and may not drop below flood stage until nearly the end of the month,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Communities along the White River in Arkansas can also expect flooding to continue or worsen.

Areas near Augusta and northward can expect river levels to stagnate over the coming days, allowing waters to very slowly recede.

Downstream from Augusta, the worst is yet to come. In Clarendon, Arkansas, the river is anticipated to crest at the end of the week.

In any flooded area, drivers should obey road blocks, barricades and signs, as water damage to roads might not be visible.

“The extended rain-free weather will help some communities with damage assessment and cleanup operations, while communities over the lower Mississippi will have fair weather to prepare for the flooding to come,” Sosnowski said.

With the potential for wet weather to return to the region at the end of the week, it will be important for residents to be adequately prepared.