An aerial photo of Water Street in Peru, Ill., Friday, April 19, 2013, shows the Illinois River at record flood levels for the area. Restaurants such as Waterstreet Pub and Brandy's, pictured, prepared for the flooding Thursday by emptying out the lower levels of their businesses and building barricades of concrete, plastic tarp and sandbags. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday declared 38 counties as state disaster areas. He said reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days. (AP Photo/NewsTribune, Genna Ord) (The Associated Press)
An aerial photo shows floodwaters from the Illinois River at near record levels in Utica, Ill., Friday, April 19, 2013. Utica Mayor Fred Esmond issued an evacuation recommendation Thursday, which many residents took. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday declared 38 counties as state disaster areas. He said reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days. (AP Photo/NewsTribune, Genna Ord) (The Associated Press)
ST. LOUIS – Communities along the swollen Mississippi River and other rain-engorged waterways are waging feverish bids to hold back floodwaters that may soon approach record levels.
After days of torrential rains, Midwesterners are watching rivers and tributaries rise — a sharp contrast to the drought. Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin all saw flooding Thursday and Friday, with Illinois bearing the brunt of it.
National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said the Mississippi River rose a "pretty amazing" nearly 10 feet in 36 hours at Quincy, Ill., about 120 miles from St. Louis.
Months ago, the Mississippi was so low that barge traffic was threatened. Now, its barge traffic has effectively been halted from the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois to near St. Louis.