Floodwaters rising after storms deluge heartland

ST. LOUIS (AP) – From small Mississippi River hamlets to the suburbs of Chicago, flood fighters are staging a battle to hold back raging rivers.

Days of torrential rains have soaked much of the Midwest. And now, Mississippi River communities in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri are expected to see significant flooding — in some cases, near record levels — in the next couple of days.

Dozens of Midwestern rivers are well over their banks, after rains that began on Wednesday dumped up to 6 inches of new water on soil that was already saturated.

In Quincy, Ill., the National Weather Service says the Mississippi River rose nearly 10 feet in 36 hours. A bridge could be shut down, and a sewage plant is threatened.

Smaller rivers in Illinois seem to be causing the worst of the flooding. After suburban Chicago got up to 7 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, record levels of water are moving through the Des Plaines River. The water is moving past heavily populated western suburbs and into the Illinois River.

As many as 1,500 residents of the northern Illinois town of Marseille were evacuated after nine barges broke free from a tugboat and struck a levee on the Illinois River.

About half of the 500 residents of the central Illinois town of London Mills had to be evacuated after the swollen Spoon River topped a levee.


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