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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Obama grants emergency declaration for Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY — President Barack Obama has issued a federal emergency declaration for Missouri because of flooding along the Missouri River system and flash floods in the northeast.

Gov. Jay Nixon says his request for the declaration was granted Thursday.

The declaration covers all 25 counties along the Missouri River, from the far northwest to St. Louis. It also applies to northeastern Missouri’s Clark and Lewis counties, which have been coping with flash floods.

Nixon says the declaration clears the way for federal assistance in efforts to protect lives and property. Such assistance includes material to support long-term shelter operations plus help and equipment for flood-fighting operations, such as pumps, sand and sandbags.

Mid-Missouri counties included in the declaration are Cole, Callaway, Boone, Monteau, Osage and Gasconade.

Missouri, North Dakota senators team up on flooding

Senators from Missouri and North Dakota will be working together to address flood control issues along the Missouri River.

The two states often have been at odds over how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should manage the dams that control the flow of the Missouri River. But residents in both states have expressed concerns this year after the Corps released record amounts of water because of heavy rains and snow melts, causing widespread floods.

Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill said Thursday they’re teaming with North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kent Conrad to launch the “Missouri River Working Group.” They plan an initial meeting during the week of July 11.

The senators say they’ll evaluate the factors that led to this year’s flooding and ways to avoid similar problems in the future.

Levee fails in southwest Iowa

The Missouri River breached another levee in southwest Iowa on Thursday, inundating yet more farmland but not prompting any new evacuation orders or flash flood warnings.

The breach, about a mile northwest of Percival in Fremont County, had grown to about 200-yards-wide by 9 a.m., Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management spokesman John Benson said.

Local emergency officials told the weather service that the breach is expected to flood areas that have already been evacuated between Interstate 29 and the river.

Percival sits just east of I-29, and about 16 miles northwest of Hamburg where a secondary levee was built in early June to bolster the town’s defenses when floodwaters broke through another levee in northwest Missouri. The Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday’s breach near Percival happened on the same levee, which stretches along the river from southern Iowa into northern Missouri.

National Weather Service forecaster Josh Boustead said the new breach was discovered after the river level downstream at Nebraska City dropped about 6 inches to 27.6 feet. The breach occurred shortly before 4 a.m.

The Iowa Department of Transportation extended the closure of Interstate 29 because of the breach near Percival. The interstate is now closed from exit 24 near Bartlett, Iowa, south to Rock Port, Mo.

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