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Midwest Rivers Crest As Flooding Turns Deadly

National Weather Service Significant Flood Outlook for the week of April 23 - 28, 2013.
National Weather Service Significant Flood Outlook for the week of April 23 - 28, 2013.

National Weather Service
Flooding continues to plague the upper Midwest, as high water reached record stages in Illinois and left at least four people dead.

The Illinois River is making history, says the U.S. Geological Survey: "USGS has measured the highest levels of flooding ever recorded in Illinois: At least ten USGS stream gauges in Illinois that have more than 20 years of record, have measured the . More record levels are expected as flooding moves downstream."

The river crested in Peoria, Illinois yesterday, about two inches below its record; volunteers worked steadily to throw up sandbag barriers to stop flooding from inundating the city, reports the Peoria Journal-Star. Heavy , forcing some residents out of their homes.

Besides the Illinois, Accuweather is predicting , as new rain and snow fall on saturated ground. But the outlet's weather forecasters think the new storm systems will slide across the region so fast they won't be able to dump as much precipitation as last week's storms.

So much rain fell on the region and ran off into waterways in the past several days that barges broke free from moorings on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. WMAQ-TV of Chicago reports some of the on the Illinois River near Marseilles. Reuters says 114 barges escaped on the Mississippi and 11 of them sank. River traffic on the Mississippi was briefly halted, , after the barges were corralled.

The St. Louis Dispatch reports sandbags are holding and there are no levee breaks reported as . Looking ahead, Accuweather is forecasting rain next week, but warns the danger will be felt further south in Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.

There are reports of four deaths from flooding: CNN reports the most recent occurred on Sunday, when a body was discovered in Indiana. Last week, another Indiana death was reported, in addition to a fatality in Illinois and another in Missouri.