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Watching to river flow...Northeast gets hint of winter...Iran conducts rocket tests

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials monitoring stressed levees are projecting record flooding in some Mississippi River towns after several days of torrential rain. At least 18 deaths are already blamed on high water, mostly involving vehicles that drove onto swamped roadways. The river is expected to reach nearly 15 feet above flood stage tomorrow at St. Louis, which would be the second-worst flood on record.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Northeast's first real taste of winter weather is over except for some lingering light snow or freezing rain. Forecasters say parts of northern New England got 4 to 6 inches of snow yesterday and one area in Maine picked up 10 inches. Meteorologists say the storm is linked to the same system that produced deadly tornadoes and floods in the Midwest and South.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A U.S. Central Command spokesman is accusing Iran of taking "highly provocative" actions in the vital Strait of Hormuz last week when it conducted rocket tests. U.S. warships and commercial traffic were nearby, though Cmdr. Kyle Raines says the missiles were not fired at any ships. The vital and narrow strait is part of the route for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Authorities say a pilot killed when the small plane he was flying clipped an office building and slammed into a commercial building in Anchorage, Alaska, was not authorized to fly the aircraft. The plane is part of the Civil Air Patrol and is normally used in volunteer search-and-rescue missions. No one on the ground was hurt and neither building has structural damage.

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Two months after a deadly nightclub fire, Romanian authorities say they have been cracking down on the use of pyrotechnics in the weeks ahead of New Year celebrations. Officials say they've confiscated 38 tons of fireworks in the wake of the fire that killed 63 people. The use of pyrotechnics and fireworks, both inside and outdoors, is common in Romania. Safety regulations can be lax.

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