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Mississippi Floodwaters Roll South

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Very slowly, the high waters of the swollen Mississippi River are making their way south to Louisiana. Weeks of heavy rains and runoff from an unusually snowy winter have flooded thousands of homes and over 3 million acres of farmland in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The river is expected to crest at a record height of 58.5 feet sometime today in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 200 miles north of New Orleans. In order to spare larger cities and industrial areas downstream, the U.S, Army Corps of Engineers has opened floodgates in the Morganza Spillway, north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, allowing an estimated 100,000 cubic feet of river water to flow into the Atchafalaya Basin every second. Collected here are images of the Mississippi and those caught in its path over the past few days -- coping, watching and waiting. [ See also: What We've Done to the Mississippi River: An Explainer by Alexis Madrigal. ] [40 photos]

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A levee protects a home surrounded by floodwater from the Yazoo River on May 18, 2011 near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The flooded Mississippi River is forcing the Yazoo River to top its banks where the two meet near Vicksburg causing towns and farms upstream on the Yazoo to flood. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A levee protects a home surrounded by floodwater from the Yazoo River on May 18, 2011 near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The flooded Mississippi River is forcing the Yazoo River to top its banks where the two meet near Vicksburg causing towns and farms upstream on the Yazoo to flood. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A secondary levee protecting 10,000 acres of farmland at Bunches Bend in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, failed Friday, May 13, 2011, just as Gov. Bobby Jindal flew over the area. (AP Photo/The News-Star, Margaret Croft) #
Water rushes over dirt roads inside the Morganza Floodway as water from the flowing floodway heads south near Krotz Springs, Louisiana, on May 17, 2011. (Reuters/Sean Gardner) #
Brittany Pearce (right) stands atop a mound of sandbags in front of her grandparents' house in Stephensville, Louisiana, on May 15, 2011. (Reuters/Sean Gardner) #
Farmers work as floodwaters from the Mississippi river creep across their fields in Natchez, Mississippi, on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Heavy flooding from Mississippi tributaries has displaced more than 4,000 in the state, about half of them upstream from Natchez in the Vicksburg area. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
A wheat field is inundated with floodwater May 12, 2011 near Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
Water diverted from the Mississippi River spills through a bay in the Morganza Spillway in Morganza, Louisiana, on Saturday, May 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #
Water flows through four open gates of the Morganza spillway into the Atchafalaya River basin, on Sunday, May 15, 2011. The spillway's opening diverted water from heavily populated New Orleans and Baton Rouge - along with chemical plants and oil refineries along the Mississippi's lower reaches - easing pressure on the levees there in the hope of avoiding potentially catastrophic floods. (AP Photo/The Lafayette Daily Advertiser, P.C. Piazza) #
Giant whirlpools the size of cars develop along the Atchafalaya River due to Morganza flooding, Sunday, May 15, 2011. Deputies warned people Sunday to get out as Mississippi River water gushing from a floodgate for the first time in four decades crept ever closer to communities in Louisiana Cajun country, slowly filling a river basin like a giant bathtub. (AP Photo/The Lafayette Daily Advertiser, P.C. Piazza) #
Floodwaters from the Mississippi River have closed Highway 61 north of Natchez, Mississippi, on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
A levee partially protects a home surrounded by floodwater from the Yazoo River, on May 18, 2011 near Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
Jude Hebert stands near a sign which translates as "It's Not Finished" that he posted in the front yard of his home near the rising Atchafalaya River May 15, 2011 in Butte LaRose, Louisiana. Most residents in this area of Louisiana speak a mixture of English and French. The small town of Butte LaRose is expected to be severely flooded after the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza spillway to divert floodwater down the Atchafalaya River and away from the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
A carp tries to swim from the backwater that has flooded the corn fields across River Road north of Yazoo City, Mississippi, on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Fish displaced by the flooding of the Mississippi River and forced into the backwaters of the tributaries are trying to return the their natural environment. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) #
A boat carrying prison trustees, who are used as workers against the flood, motors through Mississippi River floodwaters, past the Riverside Medical Complex, which is protected by a wall of Hesco baskets in Vidalia, Louisiana, on Thursday, May 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
A member of the National Guard stands guard on a levee as floodwaters approach Butte LaRose, Louisiana, on May 15, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Submerged buildings are seen near Lake Providence, Louisiana, on May 18, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Joe Higdon has to push the barn door farther open to allow a boat out of his barn on his ranch that remains submerged in 6-12 feet of Mississippi River floodwaters on President's Island near Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday, May 15. 2011. (Lance Cheung/USDA) #
Floodwater surrounds oil wells on May 16, 2011 near Deer Park, Louisiana. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
A street sign is barely visible in the rising water of the Atchafalaya River, on May 16, 2011 in Simmesport, Louisiana. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
Water from the Mississippi River roars through the Old River Control Structure towards the Atchafalaya Basin in Concordia Parish, Louisiana, on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
Carla Jenkins, owner of Vidalia Dock and Storage in Vidalia, Louisiana, takes photos of the rising floodwaters of the Mississippi River, from inside her flooded office in Vidalia, Louisiana, on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
A truck drives down a road covered with floodwater from the Yazoo River, on May 18, 2011 near Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
A submerged mailbox is seem in front of a flooded home in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
Floodwaters inundate a neighborhood in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 18, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Mississippi River floodwaters inundate casinos and the farms that surround them in Tunica, Mississippi, on Sunday, May 15. 2011. (Lance Cheung/USDA) #
Waves form as the flooding Mississippi River spreads into Tunica, Mississippi, on Sunday, May 15. 2011. (Lance Cheung/USDA) #
Fire ants relocate their eggs onto the roadway. escaping the floodwaters of the rising Mississippi River near Yazoo City, Mississippi, on Monday, May 16. 2011. (Lance Cheung/USDA) #
Floodwaters from the Mississippi River creep inland across the shore in Natchez, Mississippi, on May 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
Tyler Clark stands with his dog Buster near caution tape blocking access to an area of high water on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, outside of the levee protection area in Simmesport, Louisiana, on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #
Tugboat owner Jerry Vatson walks across a makeshift walkway from a barge where his boat is anchored to land, amidst rising floodwater from the Mississippi River, in Vidalia, Louisiana, on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) #
A flooded home surrounded by a makeshift levee that failed in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is pictured Tuesday, May 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) #
The Mississippi River flows through open gates of the Bonnet Carre spillway in Norco, Louisiana, on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. The river water is being diverted into Lake Pontchartrain to help ease the pressure on the levees downstream near New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) #
A deer makes its way from the flooding Atchafalaya Basin in Lottie, Louisiana, on May 18, 2011. Floodwater released from a key Mississippi River spillway surged through Cajun Louisiana, but levees protecting the state's two biggest cities held as river flows neared their peak. (Reuters/Lee Celano) #
A home is nearly covered with floodwater on May 12, 2011, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
Jesse Wilson stands by his grandfather's truck near floodwaters in Vicksburg, Mississippi,on May 17, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Floodwaters engulf a building near Lake Providence, Louisiana, on May 18, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
An overflowing levee is seen near Lake Providence, Louisiana, on May 18, 2011. (Reuters/Eric Thayer) #
Farmland along the Mississippi River shows flooding on Wednesday, May 11, 2011, near the Yazoo River. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and other officials took an aerial trip along the Mississippi River and some of its tributaries to view the spreading damage from the flood waters. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) #
Residents boat through a flooded section of the Atchafalaya River, on May 14, 2011 in Simmesport, Louisiana. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
A tree is surrounded by floodwater from the Yazoo River on May 18, 2011, near Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

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