Mississippi River Flooding Brings Death And Destruction To Missouri And Illinois

Tara Dodrill

Mississippi River flooding has caused evacuations in Missouri. Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in the area and called out the National Guard to help protect and rescue citizens. A total of 19 levies on the powerful river have been left "vulnerable" by the water swelling to its bank and beyond. Heavy rains and unseasonably warm temperatures have been deemed responsible for the historic Missouri floods.

The Mississippi River flooding have already threatened hundreds of homes in both Missouri and Illinois. While flooding in the region is not unusual, facing such a severe threat in during the winter is quite unique. Storm Frank, which is wreaking havoc in the United Kingdom, helped to usher in the extreme weather front. If predictions by meteorologists are accurate, the high winds, rain, and rising temperatures sparked by Frank could cause the North Pole to go above freezing in the winter for only the second time ever in recorded history.

Mississippi River Flooding Threatens Missouri, State of Emergency Declared

When flooding occurs anywhere, news reports about stranded motorists and deaths due to rushing waters washing away vehicles almost always occurs. Over the course of the past few days, a total of 18 such deaths has been reported in both Illinois and Missouri. In Edinburg, Illinois, police officers attempted to use a cellphone signal to locate a couple caught in the fast-moving floodwaters. Governor Bruce Rauner issued a disaster proclamation for seven counties in the state, CNN notes.

The bodies of the man and woman ultimately washed up near the soggy land, but the minivan they were traveling in is still missing. Police officials said the couple who tragically lost their lives in the flood were attempting to traverse a water-covered roadway. The general rule of thumb when encountering high water on a road is to turn around and avoid driving any further if you cannot see the yellow divider line through the water to the pavement below.

Missouri Flooding Prompts Evacuations

Orders to evacuate by local mayors continued throughout the day Tuesday and into today. Valley Park, a suburb of St. Louis with about 7,000 residents, is now subject to a mandatory evacuation order. Mayor Michael Pennise told local reporters that while most residents had fled their home yesterday, the rest must exit the area by 10 a.m. today.

Deadly floods force evacuations, threaten 19 levees on Mississippi River https://t.co/u0oaxH61xIpic.twitter.com/FJe3yDYJot

— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 30, 2015

Images of flooding caused by the Mississippi River in the Missouri town of Union have gone viral on social media. Water from the typically calm Bourbeuse River overtook the town and caused flooding to the rooftops of the local McDonald's, several other 1-story businesses, and turned a multi-story hotel into an island. The river waters crested about 20 feet above the established flood stage.

Portions of both Interstate 44 and Interstate 70 were closed in Illinois due to the flooding. A multitude of secondary highways and roads in Missouri and Illinois were shut down due to the swift-moving high water threat.

— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) December 30, 2015

[Image via Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images]