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Latest: Highway in Kentucky closing ahead of flooding

In this aerial photo, flood water covers Interstate 44, Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015, in Valley Park, Mo. A rare winter flood threatened nearly two dozen federal levees in Missouri and Illinois on Wednesday as rivers rose, prompting evacuations in several places. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The latest developments on flooding in the Midwest (all times local):

6 p.m.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to close U.S. 51 at two locations in western Kentucky in response to flooding forecasts.

The cabinet said waters are rising more quickly, and both the U.S. 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge and U.S. 51 south of Wickliffe near the Ballard-Carlisle county line will close at midnight Wednesday.

The cabinet said in a news release that levels at which the road is required to close are expected to be exceeded during the overnight hours.

Spokesman Keith Todd of District 1 said closing at midnight will allow Highway Department workers to barricade the roadway. Closure at the two sites is expected to last at least a week.

Todd said in the release that millings will be placed around the barricades to keep them from being moved.


5:30 p.m.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is returning early from a vacation outside the U.S. to visit areas damaged by floods and thank volunteers.

Rauner’s office said Wednesday the governor will be in Springfield on Thursday night. He will spend the next several days in central and southern Illinois, where severe weather has led to flooding and seven deaths.

Rauner left the country sometime during the weekend of Dec. 19 -20 to spend the holidays with his family. His office wouldn’t say where he was or the reason they were keeping his whereabouts secret.

He had been scheduled to return to Illinois on Sunday.

Rauner spokesman Lance Trover says the governor plans to tour areas dealing with severe weather and ensure “that communities have everything they need.”

Rauner on Tuesday issued a disaster proclamation for seven counties, where about 7 inches of rain fell between Dec. 23 and 28.


4:25 p.m.

President Barack Obama is pledging the federal government’s continued help dealing with severe weather in a phone call with Missouri’s governor.

Obama spoke to Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday while the president was vacationing in Hawaii. The White House says Obama thanked Nixon for his efforts and offered condolences for those who have died in the flooding.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz says Obama told Nixon that he had asked his staff to monitor the events closely and to work with Nixon’s team to provide any help necessary from the federal government.

Fourteen Missouri deaths have been blamed on the devastating flooding since last Friday.


4:10 p.m.

Severe flooding is forcing the closure of three historic sites in Illinois.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said Wednesday that Fort de Chartres, Fort Kaskaskia and Pierre Menard Home have been temporarily shut down because rising water made the sites and nearby roads unsafe. All three sites are in…

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
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