Residents of the St Louis, Missouri, area returned to their homes for the first time in nearly a week on Sunday (3 January) to assess the damage caused by severe flooding.

In some of the hardest-hit towns, such as Eureka and Arnold, front yards were piled with junk as home-owners got to work cleaning out damaged property, from sofas and carpets to television sets. Some items were laid out to dry in hopes that they would be salvageable.

On 2 January, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon toured communities ravaged by flooding that killed at least 31 people in several states and forced large-scale evacuations, as the danger of rising waters shifted to Arkansas and beyond.

Nixon visited Eureka and Cape Girardeau in eastern Missouri, where floodwaters caused widespread damage, and announced the federal government had approved his request to declare an emergency to help with the massive clean-up and recovery now under way. The governor described the scale of the flood damage as other-worldly.

The National Weather Service reported Mississippi floodwaters in Illinois and Missouri began cresting and receding on 2 January after thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes earlier in the week, when the floods destroyed hundreds of structures.