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Saturday, February 27, 2021

I-35 remains closed in southern Oklahoma

6:55 a.m. CDT

A section of Interstate 35 connecting Dallas and Oklahoma City remains closed as transportation officials assess how to prevent further rockslides following heavy rainfall.

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety is urging motorists to avoid I-35 in southern Oklahoma. Drivers traveling northbound through the Arbuckle Mountains must make a 4 mile detour while crews repair the road following an earlier rockslide that blocked the highway.

Engineers are evaluating ways to reopen the highway, including one lane of traffic in each direction. But closure of the highway’s northbound lanes is expected to continue for many days due to unsafe conditions.

Officials say drivers and truck traffic traveling through Oklahoma should use US-81 or US-69 as alternate routes. Numerous other highways are closed due to high water.

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12:45 a.m. CDT

Residents across the Ozarks and mid-Mississippi Valley are being warned of possible flooding from the weakened remains of former Tropical Storm Bill.

Flood warnings were issued across the region for Friday, even before the rain began to fall there in earnest.

Forecasters said the worst weather overnight would be in the heart of the Ozark Mountains along the Arkansas-Missouri border, with 3 to 5 inches of rain expected to fall.

Missouri, Illinois and Indiana were bracing for high water through the weekend.

Since coming ashore Tuesday along the Texas Gulf Coast, the tropical system has claimed at least one life. The body 2-year-old boy swept from his father’s arms as they tried to escape a raging Hickory Creek in Ardmore, Oklahoma, was found Thursday.

Authorities in Oklahoma also recovered the body of an 80-year-old woman from a vehicle partially submerged in water Thursday, though her cause of death was not immediately released.

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