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Cars and trucks crawled over a new, narrow gravel road through floodwaters to cross the Mississippi River Tuesday morning on a reopened bridge between Keokuk, Iowa, and Hamilton, Ill., the only one for 200 miles. Des Moines, Iowa, still had no running water because people flushed toilets and opened faucets too soon.

As the Midwest tried to dry out and mop up from 1 1/2 months of record flooding, up to 2 inches of rain fell in one hour Tuesday morning in northern Kansas, where at least 5,000 people were told to leave their homes in the Manhattan area."I thought the worst was over," said Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Joe Steineger. "It's not over. If the predictions were right, we will have major flooding."

There were scattered thunderstorms in other parts of the central Midwest, though widespread heavy rain wasn't expected. Monday was sunny throughout most of the region. In Iowa, no rain fell for 24 hours, the first time that happened this month.

River levels began dropping below flood stage in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And in St. Louis, the Mississippi apparently crested Sunday night and was dropping off.

But the all-clear hasn't been sounded yet.

"The good news is that the river has crested," said Tom Dietrich, a National Weather Service hydrologist in St. Louis, where the river reached 46.9 feet on Sunday and had slipped to 46.7 feet by Monday night. "People feel a sense of relief, maybe they can get through this without any more damage.

"The bad news is that it's going to stay high for quite a while," he added. "There's still a lot of water coming down the upper Mississippi."

A 480-mile stretch of the Mississippi from Dubuque, Iowa, to the mouth of the Ohio River is still above flood stage.


Contributions accepted

Utahns can directly help flood victims by donating nonperishable food, disposable diapers and blankets.

A Sandy resident, a member of Grace Lutheran Church, has donated a truck and car trailer to transport materials to Trinity Lutheran Church and Red Cross in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Iowa church is a distribution point for flood victims. Donations will be accepted between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. until July 31 at Grace Lutheran Church, 1815 E. 9800 South.

For more information, call 572-6375.