NWS: Potentially catastrophic flooding - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

NWS: Potentially catastrophic flooding

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Heavy rains from recent storms has caused flooding across the Heartland and more concern for additional flooding.

The National Weather Service held a press conference Sunday evening explaining the some of the dangers of more rainfall.

The NWS forecast of four to nine additional inches of rain throughout the week causes great concern for additional flash flooding and eventually major river flooding that is rarely seen in the region.

The high rainfall totals and predicted rainfall totals for the rest of the week have "set the stage for potentially catastrophic flooding," according to Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service.

"We are very concerned about the potential loss of life through this event, especially tonight (Sunday) and beyond," Shanklin said.

He says it is extremely important people do not drive through flooded roads.

"This is the number one way that people are killed through flash floods, especially at night," Shanklin said.

Shanklin also warns against children playing in flood waters, especially near drainage ditches.

"Communities need to prepare now for what could be catastrophic flooding," said Mary Lamm, a National Weather Service Hydrologist.

Lamm says Cairo could possibly see a new record crest for Cairo on May 3.

Sunday, the Memphis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initiated Phase II floodfighting activities due to high Ohio and Mississippi River stages.

"Based on current National Weather Service forecasts, we are anticipating near-record flood levels in many parts of the Memphis District," Col. Vernie Reichling, the Corps' Memphis District Commander said. "We have not seen levels predicted this high since 1937."

At least 19 people have voluntarily left their homes in Butler County to seek shelter at the Black River Coliseum Monday morning.  Some city streets in Poplar Bluff are flooded.

The National Weather Service in Paducah confirmed that an EF2 tornado struck the Poole, Kentucky community Friday night, tearing off roofs, but causing no serious injuries.

State of Emergency was declared for the village of Old Shawneetown, Illinois Sunday.  The State of Emergency has been declared due to rising rain water inside the levee. A voluntary evacuation has been issued by the Village of Old Shawneetown, according to Steve Galt, Gallatin County EMA Coordinator.

On Sunday evening residents of Willard Town and Miller City in Alexander County, Illinois packed up trailers, cars and trucks to head for higher ground.

The Iron Mountain Lake Levee in St. Francois County, Missouri has a small break.

Law enforcement has reported nearly all gravel roads in Wayne County, Missouri have some type of wash out. Several highways and secondary county roads have running water across them as well as some wash out problems. Piedmont residents have requested sandbags, according to the NWS.

A family was rescued from two separate homes by firefighters Sunday in Dudley, Missouri.

Five water rescues had to be performed late Saturday night in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

See the list of road closures due to flooding and roads with water over them.

See the list of schools closed due to flooding.

See a slideshow of cNews pictures from across the Heartland of flooded roads and storm damage.

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