By Jill Enders

About 200 homes in the St. Louis area have been affected by recent flooding, with about 15 more homes threatened as river levels rise. During a press conference this morning with St. Louis County leaders, Police Chief Jon Belmar made a plea to residents in Valley Park to evacuate.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar

“We will do everything we can at the St. Louis County Police Department to protect their homes, property and businesses. Period. Everything we possibly can,” said Belmar. “When they do evacuate, we will restrict re-entry because we feel there’s nothing more important than life.”

Belmar asked for public cooperation.

“I get it. It’s cool to come down and look at the river, the levees and everything else. I understand that ladies and gentleman, but this is serious business. We’re trying to manage a problem,” said Belmar. “We are going to restrict gawkers. Period.”

Greg Horn, the St. Louis District Engineer with MODOT, says motorists can expect road closures to continue for the next several days, including on I-44 between Route 100 and I-270.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger also announced that 0% interest loans will be available to affected businesses.