Missouri towns hopeful worst of flood is behind them

Floodwaters from the Mississippi River nearly cover signs near Mississippi Street in Elsah, Ill., Tuesday, July 8, 2014. The Mississippi River continued its slow rise Tuesday at several Missouri and Illinois towns, but there was reason for optimism after overnight rainfall wasn't as bad as predicted. (AP Photo/The Telegraph, John Badman)
Floodwaters from the Mississippi River nearly cover signs near Mississippi Street in Elsah, Ill., Tuesday, July 8, 2014. The Mississippi River continued its slow rise Tuesday at several Missouri and Illinois towns, but there was reason for optimism after overnight rainfall wasn't as bad as predicted. (AP Photo/The Telegraph, John Badman)

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Officials in several Mississippi River towns are cautiously optimistic that they’re about to emerge from the flood of 2014 with relatively minor damage.

Water levels were dropping in several places Thursday, including Clarksville, Missouri, where a furious sandbagging effort has successfully protected homes and businesses in the town of 450 residents.

The river was at or near crest at nearby Missouri towns of Winfield, Foley and Elsberry. Winfield City Clerk Roschell Eaton says a foot of dirt was added to the top of the levee protecting the town, and the levee is holding.

In Grafton, Illinois, a marina closed and a downtown barbecue restaurant was evacuated after floodwater swamped one small section of downtown’s main thoroughfare. Police Chief Chris Sullivan says the rest of the town is open for business.

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