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Flooding Puts Levees At Risk In Missouri, Illinois04:31

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A holiday wreath hangs from a light post surrounded by floodwater from the Bourbeuse River, Tuesday, Dec. 29 in Union, Mo. Flooding across Missouri has forced the closure of hundreds of roads and threatened homes. (Jeff Roberson/AP)closemore
A holiday wreath hangs from a light post surrounded by floodwater from the Bourbeuse River, Tuesday, Dec. 29 in Union, Mo. Flooding across Missouri has forced the closure of hundreds of roads and threatened homes. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

At least 18 people have died in the flooding in central Missouri and Illinois.

Officials are ordering mandatory evacuations for thousands of residents as the Mississippi and Meramec Rivers surge; in some places to almost 50 feet, breaking records and threatening several levees across the region.

Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd spoke to Mike Colombo of local CBS station KMOV, who said residents of Valley Park, Missouri had an "air of cautious optimism" as they evacuated today.

"Some of the people that I spoke with were a bit tongue-in-cheek when referring to the levees," Colombo added, "saying, 'We know a lot of money was spent, a lot of time was put in to make sure they are the real deal. I guess we're gonna find out here in the next day or so.'"

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