Officials say 16 people have died, and at least two more are missing, because of a storm that caused widespread flooding in parts of the central United States.

Hundreds of residents were forced to flee their homes in the flooding. The storm dumped up to 30 centimeters of rain over a two-day period that ended Wednesday.

President Bush declared Missouri a disaster area, qualifying the state for emergency funding. Missouri's governor Matt Blunt also activated the state National Guard to help with evacuations.

Weather forecasters warn that more heavy flooding is expected as waterways swell to potentially record levels over the next few days.

The flooding has stretched across parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

Meanwhile, states in the north-central U.S. are preparing for a heavy snowfall.

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued several winter storm warnings. Weather forecasters say some areas could get more than 38 centimeters of snow.

The snow storms also have caused flight delays at two major airports (Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago).

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.