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Flooding forces evacuations in northwest Missouri towns; rivers haven't crested yet

Judy L. Thomas, Laura Bauer, Bryan Lowry and Crystal Thomas, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Weather News

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some northwest Missouri residents were forced from their homes Friday as widespread flooding continued along the Missouri River, causing numerous levee breaches and devastation to homes and farmland.

The National Weather Service cautioned that significant flooding would continue Friday, with many of the highest crests occurring into the evening. But rainfall expected Saturday in Kansas City shouldn't exceed more than one-tenth to two-tenths of an inch, said meteorologist Spencer Mell, of the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill, Mo.

"At this point, we're not expecting that to aggravate any flooding going on," Mell said.

Since March 14, flood warnings along the Missouri River have covered 35,738 square miles and impacted more than 5.275 million people, the weather service said.

Flash flood warnings were issued Friday morning for Buchanan County and were in effect until 9:45 p.m. In the county seat of St. Joseph, the water level was at 31.4 feet Friday morning and expected to rise to 32 feet by later in the day, according to the weather service.

Authorities in St. Joseph ordered mandatory evacuations Friday morning for an area west of U.S. 59. St. Joseph police went door to door in the affected areas notifying residents they needed to leave.

 

Across the state line in Doniphan County, Kan., authorities encouraged residents to stay out of the town of Elwood, where the river was expected to crest at 32 feet. The town was under a flash flood warning until 9:45 p.m. Friday.

The Kansas Highway Patrol closed the exit ramps going into Elwood on Friday morning, according to Doniphan County Emergency Management. Local officials said at 10:30 a.m. Friday that no one would be allowed back into town at this time "due to safety precautions."

The City of Elwood posted on its Facebook page that the levee was "still intact with no current over topping."

"Right now we are still dry, the next few hours are very critical," it said. "Thought and prayers to all involved."

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