- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Latest on flooding in Missouri (all times local):

12:50 a.m.

Planning is underway to replace two major bridges that were destroyed in weekend flooding in southwest Missouri’s Ozark County.

The Springfield News-Leader (https://sgfnow.co/2p67S3D ) reports that the bridges gave way Saturday when the North Fork of the White River surged more than 10 feet above them. So far the 300-foot-long Hammond Bridge near Dora and the 400-foot James Bridge north of Tecumseh are the only bridges identified as complete flooding losses, although as many as 20 others sustained repairable damaged.

State bridge engineer Dennis Heckman says consultants already have been hired. The replacement costs for the two bridges would be at least $2.7 million and could increase if the James Bridge is raised higher.

State transportation officials hope to recoup a significant amount through federal emergency repair reimbursements.

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11:50 a.m.

A drop in funding means about 20 percent of gauges used in Missouri to measure floodwaters will go offline this summer.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Science Center in Rolla maintains 247 gauges across the state. The Springfield News-Leader reports (https://sgfnow.co/2qszVic ) 49 of those instruments are scheduled to be deactivated after June 30.

The instruments collect water data used by agencies such as the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The gauges are funded by several entities and funding varies depending on the priorities of groups that partner with the Geological Survey.

Amy Beussink, director of the water science center, says some of the agency’s partners are facing budget reductions but she wouldn’t say which agencies were not able or willing to fund the gauges.

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9:10 a.m.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is decreasing the amount of water it’s releasing from the spillway at Table Rock Dam.

The corps said in a news release that the water flows were reduced Wednesday but could increase again if there is more rain. The corp began releasing more water from the spillway after torrential rains fell across southwest Missouri from Friday through Sunday. Many low lying areas near the lake were inundated.

Flooding also closed some roads and several parking lots near the Branson Landing, which is the downtown shopping area in Branson. The flooding threat has since moved to the eastern part of the state.

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8:30 a.m.

The Mississippi River near St. Louis has been closed to boats and barges because of high water levels.

The Coast Guard announced in a news release that it closed the river to vessel traffic for a 5.5-mile stretch near the MacArthur Bridge. The release says the river operation restrictions will be re-evaluated as river conditions improve.

Capt. Martin Malloy, who commands the upper section of the Mississippi River, says “public safety” is the “collective priority.”

The flooding has claimed five lives in the state and caused widespread damage. Missouri transportation officials say more than 270 roads remain closed statewide. Homes, business, campgrounds, wastewater treatment facilities and cropland have been inundated. Agricultural levees have overtopped and stretches of railroad tracks closed.

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8 a.m.

River levels are cresting in several Missouri communities as floodwaters slowly drain from the state, although forecasts for more rain could cause another round of damaging high water.

The National Weather Services is forecasting crests Wednesday morning in the Missouri River at Gasconade and Hermann. Forecasters are predicting that water levels in the Meramec River should begin falling after it crests Wednesday and Thursday in several eastern Missouri cities. Mississippi River crests in the southern part of the state aren’t expected until the weekend.

The flooding has claimed five lives in the state and caused widespread damage. Missouri transportation officials say more than 270 roads remain closed statewide. Homes, business, campgrounds, wastewater treatment facilities and cropland have been inundated. Agricultural levees have overtopped and stretches of railroad tracks closed.

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