ST. LOUIS (AP) -- At least 14 levees along the Missouri River in Missouri are losing the battle against floodwaters.
The Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association said Thursday that seven levees have been overtopped by water and seven more have been breached, with water pouring through them. The levees are in rural areas and the impact is mostly on farmland.
Portions of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers remain well above flood stage. Up to a foot of rain fell in parts of Missouri last weekend, and much of the central U.S. has seen several additional inches of rain over the past two days.
The worst flood damage has been along smaller rivers like the Black River in southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas, and the Meramec River in suburban St. Louis.
Officials are warning of the dangers left behind by a devastating flood as hundreds of displaced residents prepare to return to their homes along the Meramec River in suburban St. Louis.
The Meramec reached record and near-record levels at several towns after torrential rains last weekend caused a sudden jump in the river level. At least 200 homes and dozens of businesses were damaged.
Missouri is among several states in the central U.S. where dangerous floods have occurred. Nine deaths are blamed on the flooding.
St. Louis County officials are warning that floodwater can contain raw sewage, chemicals and others dangers. Health officials say children should not play in floodwater, and that children and pets should avoid toys soaked in the water. Wild animals displaced by flooding also pose a potential threat.