Copy-The Latest: Search for missing driver resumes in Missouri

By The Associated Press

The latest developments on flooding in the Midwest (all times local):

8:05 a.m.

Volunteers are resuming a search for a missing motorist in southwest Missouri.

Pleasant Hope emergency management director Rick Davis says the man disappeared Saturday night as he prepared to cross a bridge over the Pomme de Terre River in Polk County. Guardrails kept the man's vehicle from washing away.

Davis says volunteer firefighters searched from Sunday through Tuesday, and others are taking over the search Wednesday.

Davis says the river is normally 60 to 70 feet wide, but is now a mile wide in some spots. He says some debris piles are two stories high.

He says that, "Nobody that is living has ever seen anything like this."

7:45 a.m.

The mayor of the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park is ordering mandatory evacuations for a portion of the town of about 6,900 residents as the fast-rising Meramec River threatens a levee.

Mayor Michael Pennise ordered the evacuations early Wednesday. Many people had already left that area but those who didn't were told to evacuate by 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The National Weather Service is projecting that the Meramec River will reach record heights at Valley Park, around 30 feet above flood stage, late Wednesday. Pennise says the Corps of Engineers is confident the levee will hold up, and no signs of a breach have been found.

The Meramec is expected to shatter flood records at Valley Park and several other towns.

7:35 a.m.

Interstate 44 is closed in multiple locations in Missouri because of flooding.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says the closures include westbound and eastbound stretches of the interstate in central Missouri's Phelps County and in the St. Louis area.

Transportation officials say drivers using detour routes should expect delays and longer travel times.

The interstate has been closed off and on since Monday in Phelps County.

6:55 a.m.

Two central Illinois residents have drowned in floodwaters, raising the state's death toll since the weekend to seven.

Also, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued a disaster proclamation for seven counties.

Christian County officials say a man and a woman were found Tuesday morning in floodwaters about 6 miles east of Edinburg. Officials say it appears they were trying to cross a flooded area. Police used cellphone location services to find them, but their minivan is still missing.

The Christian County Coroner's Office told the (Springfield) State Journal-Register ( ) that both died of drowning.

Rauner issued the disaster proclamation Tuesday afternoon for Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties. The National Weather Service says those counties saw about 7 inches of rain Dec. 23-28.

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