(Missourinet) Rain has finally stopped falling, but officials say conditions are still dangerous in much of Missouri.
Some parts of Missouri have received a foot or more of rain, and runoff is continuing to fill lakes, creeks, and rivers, with some of those predicted to reach crests higher than ever recorded.
Highway Patrol Superintendent Bret Johnson says Missourians shouldn’t let their guard down.
“This event and the hazard is not over. We ask all drivers to please avoid driving through any standing water on the roadway,” said Johnson.
Governor Jay Nixon adds, the levels of some rivers could continue to rise.
“The water continues to rise in the eastern side of the state and will for the better part of the next two to three days,” said Nixon. “We’re a long way from the finish of this.”
Nixon said events like the storm of the past few days take on a somber tone when people lose their lives. At the time he spoke to reporters, 10 people were confirmed dead in connection to the storm. (UPDATE: The Associated Press now reports Nixon has confirmed 13 deaths, as of 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. Nearly all of those who died in Missouri were in vehicles that drove onto flooded roadways.) Crews were still searching for three others. Nine of those ten died when their vehicles were swept away by flooding.
Nixon and members of his administration implored drivers not to try to cross high water.
“The vast, vast majority of folks that lost their life here drove into water,” said Nixon.
Some critics have accused Nixon’s administration of being unprepared for this storm, but he disagrees.
“We saw this weather event coming. Our folks at SEMA as well as [the Highway] Patrol prepositioned resources prior to the first rain coming and we had folks out in the field working with local folks during the entirety of this response, and we continue today to remain in constant contact,” said Nixon. “I would recommend any of those critics feel free to give us a call sometime at three or four in the morning and see who’s working and who’s not.”
(This story was last updated at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday.)