UPDATE WEDNESDAY: MoDOT has announced that all lanes of I-44 in Phelps County are open. That will eliminate a detour to U.S. 63 that has clogged traffic in Texas County.
EARLIER: Heavy rain Sunday night left many roads and low-water crossings impassable Monday in the county during the rainiest December since 1895. There were no reports of injuries.
One vehicle was swept away west of Houston.
Two highways remain closed in the county – at one time, eight, were shutdown.
At 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, MoDOT reported that all Texas County highways were open for the first time since the flood began.
Both directions of Interstate 55 are closed at the St. Louis and Jefferson County line at the Meramec River, mile marker 193. Duration of closure is unknown.
Both directions of I-44 remain closed Thursday in St. Louis County. The closure is between I-270 in St. Louis County and Route 100 at Gray Summit in Franklin County due to flooding of the Meramec River at Route 141. The closure is between mile marker 253 and 274 and is expected to last a few days. With many other roads closed in the St. Louis area, the open roads are experiencing extreme congestion.
Interstate travelers can use Interstate 57 in Illinois to cross the Mississippi River at Sikeston and reconnect to I-55.
Motorists needing to travel across Missouri are encouraged to use I-70 to I-49 in Kansas City to I-44 in Joplin or the reverse depending on eastbound or westbound travel.
Due to the Phelps County detour, traffic was heavy Tuesday through Licking and Houston all day.
The Springfield office of the National Weather Service predicted early that the flooding could exceed that seen in spring 2008 and 2011 floods. On Monday, it said it had received the most rain ever recorded in December. By noon, it had measured 11.15 inches. The record of 11.02 inches was set in 1895. More than 9 inches fell Saturday through Monday.
Texas County Emergency Management Director Bennie Cook said residents should use caution. “If there is water over the road, turn around don’t drown,” he warns. Persons should call to report road conditions to Texas County Emergency Services (911) by calling 417-967-5558.