Officials closed both directions of Interstate 55 near St. Louis on Thursday morning as the death toll from the Midwest’s nearly unprecedented flooding rose to 20 and evacuations widened. The Missouri Department of Transportation rerouted traffic through the area after floodwaters from the Meramec River overtook that roadway as well as Interstate 44. In St. Louis, the Mississippi River hit 13 feet above flood stage—its second-highest on record, after the devastating 1993 floods. Parts of Missouri have been hit with 9 to 11 inches of rain in three days—a magnitude that occurs only once in 100 to 300 years, according to NOAA meteorologists.
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