ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Yet another round of severe weather closed nearly 200 roads in Missouri, forced the emergency evacuation of a newspaper office and had flood-weary residents along the Meramec River bracing for more high water.
Southern Missouri, which already this year has seen everything from winter ice storms to drenching early spring rains, again took the worst of it as storms began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday.
Several communities reported 3-4 inches of rain. The Missouri Department of Transportation reported that sections of 180 roads were closed as of midday Thursday, mostly due to flash flooding.
In southwest Missouri, nine people were evacuated with ropes and life jackets from the Monett Times as Kelly Creek burst its banks and surrounded the building. Police said the creek also threatened other businesses in downtown Monett and forced the evacuation of a nearby trailer park with about 10 to 12 homes.
Times publisher Lisa Craft said the afternoon newspaper's presses were high enough not to be threatened. But she said it was unclear when staff could get back in the building.
Dozens of counties were under tornado watches or warnings, but no sightings were reported.
Meanwhile, moderate flooding is projected at several Missouri communities over the next few days, including the Mississippi River towns of Hannibal, Saverton, Louisiana and Clarksville in northeast Missouri and Cape Girardeau and New Madrid in southeast Missouri. A few spots on the Missouri River could also see water levels slightly above flood stage.
More concerning was the Meramec, the eastern Missouri river that flooded in March, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate in several towns.
National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said the Meramec could reach what the service considers "major" flood stage in Arnold, about 20 miles south of St. Louis.
Last month, sandbags were used to protect about 50 homes in Arnold. The effort worked -- none of those homes were damaged.
"The good news is we kept all of our sandbags in place," said Greg Hall, Arnold's director of administration. With a few minor adjustments, the sandbags should be more than adequate for the next round of flooding, he said.
Moderate flooding was projected at the Meramec River towns of Valley Park, Eureka and Pacific.
The good news, Fuchs said, is that the near-term forecast does not call for a lot of additional rain.
"There could be threats of occasional flooding through the rest of the spring, but we don't show any signals indicating this is 1993 all over again," Fuchs said.
On the Net:
National Weather Service, St. Louis office: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/
Missouri Department of Transportation Traveler Information Map: http://maps.modot.mo.gov/travelerinforma... x
AP reporter Marcus Kabel in Springfield, Mo., provided information for this story.