PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) - Floods have ravaged parts of south-central Missouri for more than 24 hours as of Wednesday morning, leading to evacuations in Newburg and a search for a missing mother whose young son was killed when rising waters swept their car away.
The floods prompted Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to order the deployment of 50 members of the Missouri National Guard to assist local authorities with disaster response.
PHOTOS: Flooding near Waynesville, Mo.
Nixon spoke to officials in Laclede, Miller, Phelps and Pulaski counties about the situations in each of these counties, and about the ongoing assistance from the state. He cancelled a previously scheduled meeting in Waynesville Wednesday morning, citing the state and local emergency management personnel who were charged with flood response, according to a news release.
Hundreds of people are without power, and at least 100 homes and businesses have been damaged.
Flood waters from the Gasconade River have closed all lanes of Interstate 44 from mile marker 172 to mile marker 186 near Jerome in Phelps County. I-44 may not reopen until Wednesday evening. Westbound traffic is backed up longer than 20 miles.
"We will continue to monitor these areas until the floodwaters recede," Missouri Department of Transportation District Engineer David Silvester said.
Fourteen people stayed overnight at an American Red Cross Shelter at the St. Robert Community Center in Pulaski County. Members of the Waynesville United Methodist Church helped serve lunch at the shelter to affected residents.
Firefighters have been working since Tuesday morning to rescue stranded people from cars and homes. The town of Newburg is anticipating the water to rise another 5 feet throughout the day, threatening dozens of homes in the area.
The body of a 4-year-old child was found early Tuesday near Mitchell Creek on the west side of Waynesville, Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long said Tuesday.
More than 7 inches of rain fell at Fort Leonard Wood, near Waynesville, from midnight to mid-Tuesday morning, according to the Weather Channel, overflowing nearby creeks and rivers.