Extreme weather conditions over the past week have proven fatal for residents in at least seven Midwest and Southern states. In the aftermath of the nationwide storms, the Mississippi river has flooded over the levees in Missouri, wreaking complete havoc in the area, which is currently in a state of emergency. According to the National Weather Service, 17 million people across the nation are feeling the effects of this disastrous weather and operating under strict flood warnings. For Missouri, in particular, the problem lies within the waters of the mammoth Mississippi River.
Flooding has caused at least 13 deaths in Missouri and, as of Wednesday, is threatening 19 federal levees. Governor Jay Nixon, who has called in the National Guard for assistance, commented on the danger facing the state on Tuesday.
It's very clear that Missouri is in the midst of a very historic and dangerous flooding event. The amount of rain we've received, in some places in excess of a foot, has caused river levels to not only rise rapidly, but to go to places they've never been before.
The flooding is expected to peak late Wednesday or Thursday and residents are bracing themselves for the worst. At its highest point in Cape Girardeau, Missouri's Mississippi River is expected to reach close to the record level reached in 1993. The historic flood, which occurred over 20 years ago, killed nearly 50 people and damaged over 50,000 homes, making it the most disastrous one in the United States to date, reported CNN. Flooding has caused at least 18 deaths in Missouri and Illinois combined, most of which were caused by cars that drove into flooded areas. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 72,000 cubic feet of water per second is being released from the Table Rock Dam.
If the levees are broken, the floods will affect additional cities seated alongside the river, including St. Louis. NBC News reports that the overflowing waters will eventually reach New Orleans and Memphis, among other major cities, by the end of this week. And the Mississippi River isn't the only one that's rising. The Missouri and Meramec Rivers are also causes of concern among nearby residents. This December, no part of the U.S. has been spared. In addition to the South and Midwest, Northeastern states, such as Maine and New York, have also been experiencing extreme winter weather. This winter may be warm, but it's proven disastrous.