The Mississippi River is overflowing levees in Illinois leaving millions of acres of prime farmland underwater and driving up the cost of corn. Reuters reports:
Smaller tributaries of the Mississippi are also flooding which has made life in the rural Midwest miserable for tens of thousands.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said a levee broke at 1 a.m. CDT near Meyer, Illinois, leaving more than 17,000 acres of prime farmland at risk from the floodwaters.
The rising river also ran over the tops of eight more levees north of St. Louis overnight, bringing the total number of compromised levees on the most important U.S. inland waterway to 19.
"They were lower level agricultural levees," said spokesman Alan Dooley. "We're also watching another seven levees that may overtop in the next couple of days ... all agricultural levees."
The slow-rolling disaster, the worst U.S. Midwest floods for 15 years, has flooded vast sections of the U.S. farm belt and forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Estimates are that 5 million acres have been ruined and will not produce a crop this year. That has sent U.S. grain and livestock soaring, along with food price inflation worries.
The region may experience some relief as no rain has been forecasted until Saturday giving the rising rivers time to crest and recede.