About 200 Missouri National Guard soldiers and airmen are assisting with flood relief efforts by monitoring levees, directing traffic away from road closures and sandbagging. Major General Steve Danner said troops are helping throughout the state.
“Our first and main focus is to ensure the safety of the public,” said Danner. “Our first units out are military police units that are going to be doing safety wellness checks. We’re experienced in this kind of work. This is why we are citizen soldiers, to help our citizens and protect them from bad things.”
Danner said the length of the mission could depend on weather, levees and receding waters.
The flood stage of the Mississippi River is expected to exceed in the coming days the 1993 record levels. The Mississippi River south of Cape Girardeau is expected to crest at 47.5 feet on Saturday, nearly two feet above the previous record. Other rivers are also predicted to reach historic highs, including the Meramec River at Valley Park, which is forecast to crest at a record 42 feet.
Flooding has led to the evacuation of West Alton near St. Louis and caused more than 220 road closures throughout Missouri, including in the St. Louis region and all lanes of I-44 at Jerome near Rolla.
There have been 13 flood-related deaths in Missouri, 12 of which were caused by vehicles being swept away by flood waters.
Missourians who need disaster or shelter information are urged to call 211.