JEROME, Mo. (KMOV) – Interstate 44 at mile marker 172 was back open on Thursday, a day after widespread flooding ravaged parts of south-central Missouri and hundreds of homes were evacuated.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said Route 63 at Wesphalia also reopened shortly after 6 a.m.
But more than 40 roads throughout the state, mostly in central Missouri, remain closed due to flooding
Officials were quick to point out that with the possibility of more rain, sections of Phelps County were still under the threat of more flooding.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also planned to visit flood-damaged Waynesville Thursday to discuss emergency response efforts. He postponed a trip to the area on Wednesday because state and local emergency management workers were responding to continued dangerous flooding.
Deputies also told News 4 the search for a missing woman has changed from a rescue mission to a recovery mission. The woman is believed to be the mother of a 4-year-old boy killed in the flooding earlier this week.
Authorities said the boy was swept away from a vehicle the two had been riding in after it got caught in rising waters.
Officials said about 200 homes were evacuated in the region on Wednesday and local officials estimate 50 or more houses in Waynesville were flooded.
Evacuations also occurred in Newburg, a Phelps County town of about 450 residents. KYTV reports county authorities issued mandatory evacuations for residents living along the Little Piney River. Witnesses told News 4 the Walnut Street Bridge in Newburg was washed away.
As of Wednesday night, there were 35 dogs, 10 cats and a rabbit owned by people displaced by flooding. The Humane Society also agreed to take 15 adoptable dogs from the Waynesville shelter, opening space to temporarily house pets owned by those affected by flooding.
The National Weather Service said more than 7 inches of rain fell at Fort Leonard Wood, which is near Waynesville, from 12 a.m. to mid-Tuesday morning.