Flooding forces evacuation of Missouri town

KANSAS CITY, Mo Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:51am EDT

A casino parking lot is flooded in Council Bluffs, Iowa, June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Michael Avok

A casino parking lot is flooded in Council Bluffs, Iowa, June 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Avok

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KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - Residents of Craig in northwest Missouri are under orders to evacuate because of two breaches in Missouri River levees, officials said on Tuesday.

"Water is headed this way," said Bill Gordon, Holt County Commissioner. Water is expected to top earthen and sandbag levees fortified recently around Craig, he said.

Craig has about 300 residents. Its downtown area includes a bank, post office and restaurant, Gordon said. Those businesses had already moved out in anticipate of flooding, he said.

"People are pretty stressed out," Gordon said.

He said the Missouri River levee breaches occurred about three miles south and west of Craig. In recent days breaches have inundated some farmland and homes, particularly around the village of Big Lake, Missouri.

Levees have also failed in Atchison County north of Holt County. Most people had voluntarily evacuated those areas before the flood, officials said.

The flooding has closed numerous highways in the two counties as well as Big Lake State Park.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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