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Subject Flooding, heavy snow plague Midwest
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VALLEY PARK, Mo. - Residents in this community along the Meramec River are crossing their fingers that the town's new earthen levee, built to withstand a 100-year flood, will pass its first big test.

The surging Meramec was expected to crest at a record 40 feet on Saturday -- 24 feet above flood stage.

Flood-weary residents in Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio fought to save their homes Friday after heavy rainstorms pushed swollen rivers out of their banks, and a fresh snowstorm blew through parts of the Upper Midwest, canceling flights and some Good Friday services.

More than a foot of snow fell in parts of southern Wisconsin. Nearly the same amount blanketed southeastern Minnesota.

"Everyone is pretty tired of the snow but I think most people will agree these types of storms aren't unusual in the spring," National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Davis said. "These kinds of early-spring, late-winter storms are fairly common."

The timing of the storm was especially disappointing for church officials planning Good Friday services. Events were canceled at dozens of churches.

"It was a hard decision but for the safety of everybody, especially of the elderly, we think it was prudent to make this decision," said the Rev. Jonathan Jacobs of Ascension Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.

Dozens of flights were delayed or canceled at the Milwaukee and Madison airports, leaving officials there bracing for larger crowds over the weekend. Video

More floods predicted for Midwest
March 22: Vickie Nadolski of the National Weather Service says that more rain and snowfall could worsen flooding in the already drenched Midwest.

The early spring snow storm was sliding through Detroit and much of Michigan's southern Lower Peninsula, making driving hazardous and forcing the cancellation of several flights.

The National Weather Service said the system was expected to dump up to 12 inches of snow in parts of the region as it tracked through the Ohio Valley on Friday and early Saturday.

Snow forced the cancellation of more than 450 flights and delayed numerous others at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, one of the world's busiest.

But spring's floodwaters continue to be the focus of concern in much of the Midwest.

Parts of the Midwest got a foot of rain over a 36-hour period this week, causing widespread flash flooding. The worst flooding happened in smaller rivers across the nation's midsection. Major channels such as the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers saw only minor flooding.

If the levee in Valley Park breaks or is overtopped, nearly one-third of town's 6,500 residents could see their homes damaged or destroyed. The Army Corps of Engineers expects the levee to hold.

But authorities were taking no chances and set up a staging area of rescue trucks and stationed a boat in a school parking lot near the town.
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