(NBC NEWS) Raging waters threatened to breach or weaken 19 federal levees along the Mississippi River Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes as Missouri braced for "historic" floods.
River levels swelled after the massive winter storm that brought tornadoes and blizzards to Texas over the weekend soaked much of the country's midsection. Severe weather is blamed for killing at least 53 people since last week.
Although the rainfall had finished, flood warnings were still in effect early Wednesday across a 600-mile stretch of Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma.
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