An unseasonably wet late fall and early winter had already swollen the Mississippi River above its normal winter levels when heavy rains drenched most of Missouri beginning on Saturday. Springfield received 11.43 inches this month, making it the wettest December in history, breaking a record set in 1895, said Megan Terry, a National Weather Service meteorologist and hydrologist. In Illinois, a disaster proclamation was issued Tuesday for Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St.
The flooding prompted authorities to evacuate residents in some smaller towns, mostly near St. Downtown Alton, Illinois, was open for business on Wednesday after volunteers constructed a 7-foot, 1,000-foot wall of sandbags to protect the town. Earlier in the week, the Franklin County town of Union was mostly closed after waters from the Bourbeuse, Meramec and Missouri rivers flooded the town and closed most surrounding roads.
The heavy weekend rains also caused flooding in southwest Missouri in Carthage and nearby Kendricktown, where some residents were evacuated Sunday. Although the most severe flooding in Missouri occurred along the Mississippi River in the St. The dead included five international soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood whose vehicle was swept away by floodwaters Saturday in Pulaski County.
One man died after being electrocuted when his tow truck came in contact with a downed power line. The rain had mostly stopped by Wednesday across Missouri and affected areas in Illinois and the National Weather Service predicted a break from any rain through Tuesday.

Some points along Missouri rivers were receding Wednesday, though other communities along the major waterways in Missouri and Illinois still awaiting crests in the next few days. 28, 2015 photo, floodwaters approach the deck of a home in Branson, Mo., caught in the the rising waters of Lake Taneycomo. Louis, says three-day rainfall totals of 9 to 11 inches stretched from southwest to east-central Missouri, causing rainfall totals that occur only every 100 to 300 years.
Louis suburb of Valley Park, Kimmswick in Jefferson County and McBride in Perry County, O'Connell said. The waters were dropping Wednesday and several roads were open, although others remained closed while the roads' conditions were checked, Sheriff Gary Toelke said in a news release.
And residents in about 55 duplexes and 100 single-family homes in the tourist community of Branson, Missouri, were evacuated but the city's popular shopping district remained open and busy Wednesday.
Two other people were swept to their deaths at nearly the same time and just miles away in the south-central Missouri county.
Vernon County authorities also were looking Wednesday for a duck hunter who was missing in a conservation area. Louis, the Mississippi continued rising to within a foot of its predicted peak early Friday, 8 feet shy of the 1993 record. Louis received nearly 10 inches of rain in December, which was already four times the normal amount. The largest evacuation was in West Alton, Missouri, where 400 people left their homes by early Wednesday, said Mike O'Connell, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

On Saturday, five members of a Kentucky family, including three children, died when they tried to cross a low-lying bridge near Patoka and were caught in a rain-swollen creek. Downriver south to Chester, Illinois, the Mississippi is expected to crest Saturday, also less than a foot from its 1993 milestone.
A rare winter flood threatened nearly two dozen federal levees in Missouri and Illinois on Wednesday as rivers rose, prompting evacuations in several places.
Jay Nixon's office said nearly all of the victims were in cars that drove onto water-covered roads in the heavy rain during the weekend. 28, 2015 photo shows flooding on the Perry County side of the Toad Suck Lock and Dam in Arkansas. Forecasters warn of major flooding along the Arkansas River in central and western Arkansas because of the recent heavy rainfall. LOUIS (AP) — A rare winter flood that brought record crests along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois and swamped parts of southwest Missouri caused evacuations and at least 20 deaths, with the threat of more flooding expected to last until early next week.

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