By Kevin Murphy and Mary Wisniewski KANSAS CITY, Mo./CHICAGO (Reuters) - Missouri residents struggled through a fourth straight day of storms on Tuesday, fighting rising floodwaters that inundated homes, forced evacuations and closed highways and even part of the Mississippi River. A week of chaotic weather continued throughout the United States as a storm system that spawned deadly tornadoes in the Midwest and Southwest pushed north. More than 40 people have died of weather-related causes during the Christmas holidays in the past week. Missouri has been pounded by downpours since Saturday, and forecasters warned that its major rivers were still days away from cresting at record levels. At the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, about 20 miles (32 km) north of St. Louis, residents of the small city of West Alton were told to evacuate on Tuesday due to rising waters. "Access to and from town will be lost in a matter of hours," the local Rivers Pointe Fire District said in an alert. Video taken from local news helicopters showed homes in West Alton with water almost at roof level. There was also severe flooding near the courses of the Missouri, Meramec and Bourbeuse rivers in the town of Union, about 50 miles (80 km) west of St. Louis, where footage showed several shops, a McDonald's restaurant and a gas station partly submerged. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called out the National Guard to provide security in evacuated areas and direct traffic away from closed roads. "These citizen soldiers will provide much-needed support to state and local first responders, many of whom have spent the last several days working around the clock responding to record rainfall and flooding," Nixon said in a statement. The floods forced the closure of hundreds of roads across Missouri, including in St. Louis and Interstate 44 near Rolla, a small city about 110 miles (180 km) southwest of St. Louis, officials said. Three new flood-related deaths were discovered on Tuesday, the governor told a news conference, raising the death toll in the state since the storms began over the weekend to 13. Noting that a dozen of those deaths had been caused by vehicles being swept from flooded roads, Nixon reiterated that motorists should never drive around barricades or into standing water. MISSISSIPPI TO CREST ON FRIDAY The U.S. Coast Guard had to close a five-mile (8-km) stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis to all vessel traffic because rising river levels created hazardous conditions. The National Weather Service predicted the Mississippi River at the Chester, Illinois, river gauge about 60 miles (100 km) south of St. Louis would crest at 49.7 feet (15.1 meters) on Friday - matching the 1993 record. Local officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were working to fortify a levee in the area to protect homes and businesses, Nixon's office said. On Saturday, the Mississippi is expected to crest at Thebes, Illinois, just south of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, at 47.5 feet (14.5 meters) - nearly 2 feet above the record, officials said. Other rivers are also expected to reach new highs, with the Meramec forecast to crest at Valley Park, Missouri, at a record 42 feet (12.8 meters). Elsewhere in the U.S. midsection, parts of eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas and Illinois also were under flood warnings and flood watches on Tuesday. Up to a foot (30 cm) of snow was forecast for Iowa and the Great Lakes region, the National Weather Service said. The severe weather has stranded tens of thousands of travelers during one of the busiest travel periods of the year. As of 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT) on Tuesday, more than 1,280 flights had been canceled in the United States and about 4,400 were delayed. About 2,900 flights were canceled on Monday, according to FlightAware.com. Adding to the misery, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that two mild earthquakes - 4.1 and 3.4 magnitude - rattled central Oklahoma early on Tuesday, causing power outages in an area already hit by winter storms. In an apparent storm-related incident in Oklahoma, singer Craig Strickland, 29, of the country-rock band Backroad Anthem went missing while duck hunting in a boat in bad weather with a friends. The friend's body was found in a lake after their boat capsized, officials said. (Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles, Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City, and Euan Roche in Toronto; Writing by Mary Wisniewski and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis)
“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," Trump said in a statement.
Newton-John had been open about her breast cancer journey since she was first diagnosed in 1992 at the age of 43.
- The Root
Another day, another Karen. A video has been circulating social media of a white woman calling the police to report a Black man for standing outside his house, according to The Seattle Times. Yes, just standing. The woman accused the man of being a burglar but insisted race had “nothing to do” with her choice to profile him.
Either that or he's listening to a lot of Bo Burnham.
The Emmy winner's rep also tells PEOPLE that Heche has "a significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention"
- Country Living
Actress Halle Berry, 54, showed off her toned back and legs in a new swimsuit photo. The actress is known for her hardcore workouts and following a keto diet.
Pete Davidson wore a T-shirt with a cryptic message a day after announcing his split from Kim Kardashian
The former "SNL" star was photographed while filming on location in Cairns, Australia, where he appeared to make an interesting fashion statement.
Rudy Giuliani says he can't make the trip to testify before a Georgia grand jury. But Fulton County prosecutors say they have receipts showing he's got no problem traveling.
Rudy Giuliani pointed to an unspecified medical condition to request a delay of his August 9 appearance before a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia.
Olympic gymnastics champ Suni Lee flipped head-over-heels as she threw the first pitch at the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays game.
A teenage girl has gone viral after sharing on the social media website Reddit that she is evicting her family, including her pregnant stepsister.
- E! News
Three months after announcing she is expecting her first child with boyfriend Sid Wilson, Kelly Osbourne showed off her baby bump during a night out with her parents in London.
- The Courier
Tim Trahan, a Houma native living in Arcadia, caught the new State Record Bluegill out of a neighbor's pond in Arcadia.
Mom Isn't Allowing Her Toddler to Travel Solo with MIL for Heartbreaking Reason & Reddit Couldn't Be More Supportive
A mom told her MIL that she doesn’t want her daughter to travel on a solo trip — and Reddit is rallying around to show full support. The OP explained that her little one, who is almost 3, just got out of hospice care after going into remission. “Unfortunately, the cancer has returned except it […]
- Fox News
Kim Kardashian is not happy with Kanye West, calling his meme of her relationship with now ex-boyfriend Pete Davidson "appalling." West created a fake "New York Times" front page, declaring Pete 'Skete' Davidson was dead.
- The Hill
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) clinched a victory on Wednesday when the Senate — including 48 of the chamber’s 50 Republicans — voted overwhelmingly to admit Finland and Sweden to NATO. The resolution, which cleared the chamber in a bipartisan 95-1 vote, was a top priority for the Republican leader, who wanted to send a signal…
Journalist and former Olympian Matthew Syed would've never expected his 8-year-old son to strike up a random conversation with the Duchess of...
Pitt apparently has a "good list" and a "s**t list" for actors he's worked with over his career, according to his co-star.
Channing Crowder Holds Onto His Toxicity And Spews More Hate For Russell Wilson: 'He Ain't My Type Of Dude'
Channing Crowder continues to drag Russell Wilson’s name.
- The Hill
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman released a pair of photos to corroborate reporting in her forthcoming book that White House staffers regularly found ripped-up printed paper clogging a toilet in the presidential residence during former President Trump’s administration. The photos, shared with Axios on Monday, reportedly show small pieces of paper in a toilet in the White…
- Fox News
Anne Heche slurred through the "Better Together" podcast with Heather Duffy, posted hours before she was involved in a near-fatal collision in Los Angeles.