Storm heads northeast after flooding Oklahoma, Arkansas

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Tropical Depression Bill Tracks Northward Across Eastern Texas

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tropical Depression Bill dumped up to 7 inches of rain on the Ozarks in southern Missouri overnight, causing flash floods that forced the evacuation of some towns and campgrounds and increasing the risk of major flooding along several rivers.

The system that came ashore Tuesday along the Texas Gulf Coast, slowly made its way north into northern Arkansas and southern Missouri on Friday. The timing was unfortunate: The region has been swamped by heavy rain for several days, and Bill only made things worse.

"We had some ridiculous rainfall totals," said Mike Griffin, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri.

How much? Some areas near Springfield received 5 inches to 7 inches of rain between sunset Thursday and sunrise Friday — and it continued to come down. Parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana got up to 4 inches of rain.

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Tropical storm Bill, Texas
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Storm heads northeast after flooding Oklahoma, Arkansas
Bill Buehring's umbrella gives way to a strong gust of wind caused by Tropical Depression Bill in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned that it moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
The swollen Trinity river flows beneath the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge as storm clouds pass over the downtown area bringing more rain Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Dallas. The tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Water flows under a partially submerged park bench along a trail by Skyline Bridge Park on the Trinity river after heavy morning rains Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Dallas.The tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A woman shields herself from strong winds as the remnants of Tropical Depression Bill passes over Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Members with the Dallas Animal Services department walk back to their vehicles past road closure barricades after checking on a pet shelter by a flooded road Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. The shelter had been unaffected by the heavy morning rains according to the employees. A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A statue of Jesus calming the sea titled "It is I" faces the bay and gulf, in Corpus Christi, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, as Tropical Storm Bill begins to make landfall. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill came ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A Port Lavaca city worker helps clear debris from a marina area as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Betsy Lauritzen loses control of her umbrella after a strong gust of wind caused by Tropical Depression Bill in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A driver navigates his way through a flood waters after driving past a road closure sign as water from heavy morning rains flows across the street Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. A National Weather Service meteorologist says mild tornados remain a possibility as Tropical Depression Bill continues its slow trek north. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A seagull takes flight over the bay as Tropical Storm Bill moves into the area, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill will come ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE WEATHER CHANNEL – The Weather Channels' Anaridis Rodriguez reports on Tropical Depression Bill as the storm moves through Dallas on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 in Dallas. (Rex C. Curry/AP Images for The Weather Channel)
Drivers navigate through a closed road due to high water after a morning of rain showers Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
A vehicle passes through a road closed barricade after driving through a low water crossing Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Irving, Texas. A churning tropical storm has caused little damage so far in Texas, but authorities warned Wednesday that as Tropical Depression Bill moves northeast, already swollen rivers could overflow their banks and cause more problems for water-weary residents.(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Center Point crews work to restore power after a power line fell on Highway 60 due to high winds from Tropical Storm Bill on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Wharton, Texas. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow surveys damage to a park pier as Tropical Storm Bill passes over, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A woman walks back from watching the waves roll over the end of the 29th Street Galveston rock groin Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Galveston, Texas as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall near Matagorda Bay on the Texas Gulf coast. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Joe Mora and Josh Gerdel brave the heavy winds on the Matagorda beach pier that Tropical Storm Bill brought to shore on Tuesday , June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. The two are from Kansas and have never seen a tropical storm before. "We are used to wind, but not the rain and the waves," Mora said. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Waves crash onto the Matagorda beach pier as Tropical Storm Bill comes on shore on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Seagulls hover over a shrimp boat in Corpus Christi Marina as Tropical Storm Bill moves into the area, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tropical Storm Bill will come ashore Tuesday morning in the area of Matagorda County, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Darrell Mayo shoots video of the rough surf from Tropical Storm Bill on Tuesday June 16, 2015, at Galveston's 61st Street Fishing Pier as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall near Matagorda Bay on the Texas Gulf coast. (Rachel Denny Clow/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)
Port Lavaca city worker Oscar Quinenilla, front right, helps clear debris from a marina area as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. Tropical Storm Bill moved slowly over inland Texas on Tuesday, bringing another round of heavy rains to a state weary from recent deadly floods, evacuations and washed-out roads. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Workers secure scaffolding around First United Methodist Church, on the bay in Corpus Christi, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, as Tropical Storm Bill begins to make landfall. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow surveys damage to a park pier as Tropical Storm Bill passes over, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
High waves move onto the Matagorda beach as Tropical Storm Bill comes on shore on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Port Lavaca city workers clear debris from a marina area as Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Port Lavaca Mayor Jack Whitlow surveys damage to a park pier as Tropical Storm Bill passes over, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. The storm came ashore shortly before noon along Matagorda Island with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Port Lavaca city workers clear debris caused by Tropical Storm Bill, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Port Lavaca, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A high water sign on FM 2031 is pushed down by the winds that Tropical Storm Bill brought to shore on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, in Matagorda, Texas. Southeastern Texas is expected to see between 4 and 8 inches of rain by the end of Wednesday, with some areas getting as much as 12 inches. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
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And the downpours were set to continue. As the storm pushes eastward, "it's slowly weakening and losing its punch. But it's still going to cause a lot of rain," Griffin said.

Flash floods were common. In Steelville, Missouri, a mobile home park was evacuated along the normally docile Yadkin Creek. Crawford County emergency management coordinator Lesa Mizell said the creek is usually about 1 foot deep. At 5 a.m. Friday, "it looked like a roaring river," she said.

In nearby Laclede County, several popular campgrounds along the Gasconade River were evacuated as the waterway quickly rose. Emergency coordinator Randy Rowe said one driver had to be rescued when a flash flood swept his car off the road.

Flood waters lapped at the Cuivre River bridge near Troy, Missouri, 50 miles north of St. Louis, by midday Friday, forcing the temporary closure of U.S. 61. Hours earlier, firefighters rescued three people trapped in a home alongside the flooding river, and saved three others from vehicles submerged in flood waters.

Record flooding was forecast along the James River near Springfield. The river was at 5 feet Thursday evening — and 22.2 feet Friday afternoon, two-tenths of a foot above the previous high-water mark set in 1909. The good news was that few, if any, homes were likely to be flooded.

The weather service projects major flooding on the Mississippi River from just south of St. Louis, down through the Missouri Bootheel. The Army Corps of Engineers dispatched flood-fighting teams to southeast Missouri and southern Illinois to watch for levee trouble and to aid communities.

Buyouts since the 1993 flood have removed most homes from harm's way, but scattered evacuations are likely along the Mississippi.

Phil Thompson, who lives in tiny Allenville in southeast Missouri, said some of his neighbors have evacuated with the river rising. Not him.

"There's always some of us that stay, just to guard the town," Thompson said.

Allenville, with about 100 residents, sits high enough to be safe, but roads leading to town are in danger of flooding.

"In 1993 and 1995 we were an island for six weeks each," Thompson said. "It just cuts our roads off — we can't get in or out."

In central Illinois, the Illinois River was about 10 feet above flood stage in Havana and Beardstown. Sandbagging operations were underway in several towns in northwest Indiana, including threatened subdivisions along the Kankakee River.

Rains drenched much of Indiana on Friday. Forecasters predicted up to 5 inches of rain could fall through Sunday. By midday, Bloomington had already received more than 2 inches of rain.

Some residents voluntarily evacuated their mobile homes at a park in Rensselaer, Indiana, near the Iroquois River. That river reached a record high this week, and authorities were concerned that more rain could cause the water level to rise yet more.

At least one death is blamed on Bill's slow trek across the country. A 2-year-old boy was swept from his father's arms Thursday as they tried to escape a flash flood at Hickory Creek in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Jeremiah Mayer's body was found about 30 yards from that spot.

Further north, near Macomb, Oklahoma, authorities on Thursday evening recovered the body of an 80-year-old woman from a car partially submerged in floodwaters, Pottawatomie County Undersheriff Travis Palmer told the Shawnee News-Star. Her official cause of death has not yet been determined.

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Associated Press writers Claudia Lauer and Allen Reed in Little Rock, Arkansas, Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City, Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Margaret Stafford in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.

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