The Meramec River has crested at a record level in the partially evacuated St. Louis suburb of Valley Park, but the shored-up levees held back the waters.

The National Weather Service says the river hit its peak of 44.11 feet around 3 a.m. Thursday — that's 4.39 feet higher than the record set in 1982.

Forecasts call for water levels to gradually fall over the next several days.

The town of about 7,000 residents has flooded frequently over the years, but the Army Corps of Engineers built a levee in 2007 and the community had been dry since.

Welders added additional metal to the top of the levee flood gates Wednesday as the river rose.

Even with the levee holding, a railroad bridge, roads, some homes and soccer fields flooded.

Kurt Parsons