The Latest: Ohio River bridge among roads cut by floodwaters
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on flooding and severe weather in the South (all times local):
A bridge across the Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois is closing because of flooding, one of more than 50 highways underwater across four states.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announced Friday that the U.S. 51 bridge connecting Kentucky to Cairo, Illinois would close Friday afternoon because land on the Kentucky side is flooding, cutting off the approach. Officials say the bridge will likely stay closed until at least Thursday, and possibly longer.
Officials say 4,700 vehicles a day normally use the bridge, with one third of those being trucks. Traffic will be detoured to the Interstate 24 bridge over the Ohio at Paducah, Kentucky.
Road officials in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi reported Friday that more than 50 state or federal highways were closed by flooding, after days of heavy rain in the region. Scores of other local roads are closed.
An official in a small Mississippi town says 100 or more people have been evacuated as flooding spills from a rising river.
Bruce Alderman Jimmy Hubbard said Friday that the Skuna River threatens a neighborhood and some businesses in the north Mississippi town of 2,000 residents.
Some people were rescued from flooded residences Friday morning and an agricultural chemical business is scrambling to save millions of dollars in inventory. Hubbard calls the scene “total chaos.”
Hubbard says the city work barn has flooded and volunteers are filling sandbags to try to save some properties.
The river jumped by 18 feet (5.5 meters) from noon Thursday to noon Friday according to an automated gauge. Hubbard says forecasters fear a further rise after hours of heavy rain Friday morning.
The waterlogged Tennessee Valley faces more rain and severe storms in coming days, even as flood predictions along the Mississippi River rise.
More than 30 school districts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee closed Friday after days of rain left many roads flooded. A mudslide in western Kentucky is threatening buildings in a small town. The Tennessee Valley Authority says 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain has fallen in parts of northern Alabama this week.
Heavy rain continues Friday, with more rain and possibly tornadoes through Saturday.
Downstream, flood forecasts are leaping higher. The Tennessee River could crest at a level unseen in decades.
The Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, could crest Sunday, with the Mississippi forecast to peak at Memphis, Tennessee, next week. In Mississippi workers began erecting floodwalls Thursday.
Some roads are covered with water in the Tennessee Valley and schools are closed after days of heavy rain.
Nearly a dozen city and county systems in north Alabama and southern Tennessee canceled classes Friday. Storms have pushed rivers and creeks out of their banks, causing flooding.
Other school systems are opening late, and forecasters warn more rain is on the way. The weather service says severe storms are possible across the region on Saturday.
As much as 4 inches of rain has fallen across a wide area since Tuesday, swelling waterways. Forecasters say another 2 inches of rain could fall, and there’s nowhere for the water to go because the ground is saturated.
The flooding threat also extends into northeastern Mississippi and southeastern Arkansas.