CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO - MAY 03: A road passing under Interstate 55 is closed due to flooding on May 3, 2011 at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Residents of Missouri, Illinois Tennessee and Arkansas are bracing for record flooding from the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The Army Corps of Engineers yesterday blew a massive hole in a levee at the confluence of these two rivers to lower the river levels upstream and to help save the town of Cairo, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Corps breaks levee as water rising elsewhere

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WYATT, Mo. (AP) - A few momentary blasts, flashes of orange light, and the Mississippi River began pouring through a wide hole in a Missouri levee, intentionally blown open by the Army Corps of Engineers in the hope of saving a small Illinois town.

Even as the Corps carried out its bid to protect Cairo, Ill., floodwaters were rising downriver, including in Memphis, Tenn. And the breach in the Birds Point levee wasn't expected to ease those flooding concerns.

The Army Corps exploded the Birds Point levee after nightfall Monday, sacrificing 130,000 acres of rich farmland and about 100 homes in Missouri to spare the Illinois town of 2,800 residents.

In a joint statement Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate pledged to coordinate with federal agencies on relief efforts for those affected by the intentional breach.

Copyright Copyright Associated Press

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