Historic Mississippi River flooding

Flooding Tunica, MS, USA 11 May 2011 (AP)

The mighty Mississippi River, which flows through America’s Heartland, continues to spill its banks, surpassing one historic height after another since cresting at Memphis, Tennessee last week.

Even as most of the river’s system of levees and floodwalls hold the river in check, dozens of tributaries are overflowing, swamping neighborhoods, devouring homes and driving residents and animals to higher ground.

The slow-moving disaster is expected to cause more than $4 billion in damage and displace thousands.

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to close the river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico when the water level surpasses 5 metres at a gauge in New Orleans, which could happen by Monday.

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