I-44 shut down, homes evacuated as flooding ravages south-centra - KMOV.com

I-44 shut down, homes evacuated as flooding ravages south-central Missouri

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By Sarah Heath By Sarah Heath
By Belo Content KMOV By Belo Content KMOV
A young child drowned, several people were rescued and dozens of others were forced out of their homes after flash flooding in south-central Missouri early Tuesday. By Belo Content KMOV A young child drowned, several people were rescued and dozens of others were forced out of their homes after flash flooding in south-central Missouri early Tuesday. By Belo Content KMOV
A young child drowned, several people were rescued and dozens of others were forced out of their homes after flash flooding in south-central Missouri early Tuesday. By Belo Content KMOV A young child drowned, several people were rescued and dozens of others were forced out of their homes after flash flooding in south-central Missouri early Tuesday. By Belo Content KMOV
A young child drowned, several people were rescued and dozens of others were forced out of their homes after flash flooding in south-central Missouri early Tuesday. By Belo Content KMOV A young child drowned, several people were rescued and dozens of others were forced out of their homes after flash flooding in south-central Missouri early Tuesday. By Belo Content KMOV

(KMOV) – Widespread flooding continued to affect parts of south-central Missouri on Wednesday as the body of a woman was still being sought and hundreds of homes were evacuated.

Officials said about 200 homes were evacuated in the region and local officials estimate 50 or more houses in Waynesville were flooded.

Evacuations also were occurring 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.

Flooding waters forced officials to close all lanes of Interstate 44 from mile marker 172 to mile marker 186 near Jerome in Phelps County. 

Motorists on eastbound I-44 were being asked to exit at mile marker 69, then take Route 360 to Route 60, then Route 63 to get back on I-44.

Drivers heading westbound I-44 should take Route 63 to Route 60, then Route 360 to return to the interstate.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has put up barriers at the closures, as well as signs to mark the detours.  

“We will continue to monitor these areas until the floodwaters recede,” said MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester. 

Deputies said they continue to look for the body of a woman whose 4-year-old son was swept away by flooding waters and killed. Authorities said the boy had been trapped in his mother’s vehicle.

But authorities said because of the high water conditions, the search for the woman has been hampered. Deputies said it would continue as soon as conditions would allow.

Authorities have been working around the clock helping residents stranded by the flooding waters. Officials in Newburg said they expected the water to rise another five feet throughout the day.

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.

Threats of further flooding prompted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to postpone a trip to flood-damaged Waynesville Wednesday that had been planned to discuss emergency response efforts.

The governor’s office announced in a news release that the event was postponed because state and local emergency management workers are responding to continued dangerous flooding in south-central Missouri.

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