flooding

(via Birds Point New Madrid Floodway Joint Information Center facebook page/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking for possible water contamination in Southeastern Missouri, in the area affected by the Birds Point levee breach.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a Mississippi River levee at Birds Point on May 2 to protect upstream communities like Cairo, Ill.

The levee breach flooded 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland, including a confined animal feeding operation.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri State Treasurer is making low-interest loans available to over 40 counties trying to rebound from a string of weather-related disasters.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, who was in the St. Louis region Tuesday, says the loans will help homeowners and businesses qualify for loans in less than 24 hours.

Zweifel also says the new program will cut red tape and help qualified borrowers receive low-interest assistance loans in less than 24 hours.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

President Obama has issued a disaster declaration for portions of Missouri affected by recent storms, tornadoes and flooding.

The disaster declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in St. Louis, Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid and Taney counties, according to a White House press release. Funding is also available for State and eligible local governments, along with certain private non-profit organizations.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Following the severe flooding and storms in Missouri this spring, Gov. Jay Nixon has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency to begin their assessments of damage in 56 Missouri counties.

(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers video screen grab)

Updated 1 p.m. with news of river closure to traffic.

The Missouri National Guard and Missouri State Highway Patrol have performed countless water rescues during the flood of 2011. But late Thursday and early Friday, many of the soldiers and officers found themselves in need of rescue.

(Jeff Williams/WSIU)

Updated with Gov. Nixon's request for a disaster declaration.

The decision by the Army Corps of Engineers to blast the levee at Birds Point appears to have brought some relief to Cairo, Ill., but the possibility of record crests continues all along the Mississippi River.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says that while she sympathizes with southeast Missouri farmers whose land has been swamped by the Birds Point levee breach, a lawsuit filed on their behalf against the federal government will be difficult to win.

The lawsuit claims the government violated the farmers' rights by taking their land without adequate compensation.

(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers video screen grab)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to blow holes into agricultural levees to relieve rising floodwater on the town of Cairo, Ill. (See video footage of today's second blast below).

However, sparing Cairo came at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars of Missouri crops.

Ed Marshall farms about 8,000 acres in Mississippi County in southeast Missouri.  At this time of year he normally looks out on miles of corn and wheat, but right now, his view is different.

Updated 1:23 p.m. May 3 with information about lawsuit:

Via the Associated Press:

A group of 25 southeast Missouri farmers is suing the federal government over its decision to blow a hole in a levee, causing their farmland and houses to flood.

Cape Girardeau attorney J. Michael Ponder filed the lawsuit Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers detonated explosives on the Birds Point levee to ease pressure from the swelling Mississippi River.

(via Butler Miller)

Updated 10:30 p.m. May 2:

Around 10:15, the Army Corps of Engineers posted to its Facebook page that the first section of the levee had been breached.

Updated 5:58 p.m. May 2 with information that levee will be broken and additional information:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to detonate the Birds Point levee in southern Missouri tonight.

Officials announced the decision this evening.

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