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Army Corps takes heat in wake of Missouri River flooding

The U.S. 34 bridge spans the Missouri River between La Platte and Glenwood, Iowa, on April 12. Floodwaters closed roads and inundated communities and farmland this spring. The rain-swollen waterway has again inundated the tiny village of Big Lake in Holt County, Mo., where some of its approximately 160 residents were beginning to clean up after the last deluge.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri River is causing new problems in a flood-battered part of northwest Missouri where the river broke through levees in March.

The rain-swollen waterway has again inundated the tiny village of Big Lake in Holt County, where some of its approximately 160 residents were beginning to clean up after the last deluge.

Water levels haven't dropped enough to fix the failed earthen levees intended to protect the area, Holt County emergency management director Tom Bullock said Friday. That means even moderate rises in river levels can cause problems. He calls it "a continuous mess."

Several roads in the region are closed again, including portions of U.S. 159 and U.S. 59 in Missouri near the Missouri River.

In eastern Missouri, water levels are falling along the Mississippi River after some levees were busted.

Northwestern Missouri's new troubles come just as some areas were showing signs of improvement. A stretch of the Kansas Turnpike near the Oklahoma border has reopened, as has the Iowa Highway 2 approach to a Missouri River bridge that links southwest Iowa to southeast Nebraska.

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The Kansas Turnpike section near Wellington, which is about 30 miles south of Wichita, flooded Wednesday when up to 10 inches of rain fell across parts of the state in just 24 hours. Flooding also forced evacuations and school closures.

The National Weather Service says the rain is expected to move across the Deep South this weekend, putting millions of people in the path of potentially dangerous weather. The Storm Prediction Center says there's a marginal risk of severe storms from eastern Texas — where parts of Houston have already seen flooding this week — to South Carolina and western North Carolina.

Forecasters say wind damage and hail could be seen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday. On Sunday, there's a chance of storms across central Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

In Louisiana, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to open a major spillway Friday, four days earlier than expected due to torrential rains that saw the Mississippi River rise 6 inches in the past 24 hours. Officials said opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway relieves stress on New Orleans levees.

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