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More Rain Expected For Midwest

Clear skies Wednesday were expected to give way to storm clouds later this week across the drenched Midwest, compounding the floods that have closed roads and bridges and swamped farms, and raising the prospects for more deadly flash flooding, authorities said.

High water covered roads and fields and kept some people out of their homes Wednesday as Indiana National Guard members were called in to help victims.

The bulging Mississippi River crested above St. Louis and began to recede following two days without rain, but its tributaries were backed up and flooding low-lying areas, said Susie Stonner of Missouri's Emergency Management Agency.

"We've had a two-day dry spell, but the National Weather Service is predicting more rain through the weekend," which will likely cause receding rivers to rise again, Stonner said.

Flood warnings remained in effect for much of central and southern Indiana on Wednesday because of heavy rain during the weekend, and the National Weather Service said there was a chance of more rain Wednesday night. Nine Indiana counties had declared local emergencies by early Wednesday.

Nine deaths have been blamed on flash flooding that struck Missouri in the past week, the last two Sunday and Monday.

Scores of roads across Indiana were under water.

"We haven't seen something like this since 1996. The flood along the Ohio River was in 1997, but that was concentrated in the counties along the river, whereas this is spread out over much of the southern half of the state," said State Emergency Management Agency spokesman Alden Taylor.

In some areas, water had already started receding and residents were cleaning up.

"What I hate most is all the trash," said Daniel Lux, who lives along Salt Creek in Lawrence County. "Everybody's trash from up the creek gets dumped right here."

The flooding shut down a riverboat casino in St. Louis, waves lapped up against the steps of the city's landmark Gateway Arch and sandbaggers were out in force in some threatened towns.

The Mississippi was cresting at St. Louis at 8 feet above flood stage, still well below levels reached in 1993, when over-topped levees created a giant lake in the nation's midsection.

Rivers overflowed their banks across parts of Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, with some still rising as run-off from earlier rains swelled tributary creeks and streams.

Farmers across the Midwest were aching to seed rain-saturated fields, and Missouri Gov. Bob Holden asked the federal government to assess agricultural losses and consider providing aid.

"Much of the state's corn crop is either under water or in danger of becoming flooded, and the wet weather has delayed soybean planting throughout the state," Holden said in a statement.

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