Livestock also has been hard hit. About 2,500 hogs drowned in an Illinois barn after a creek overflowed its banks, said Jennifer Tirey, a spokeswoman for the state's Pork Producers Association.
"There was no electricity and roads were impassable. It was just impossible to get to those pigs," she said.
The U.S. flooding is occurring at the same time as historic El Nino-related flooding across northern England. The El Nino weather phenomenon tends to disturb global weather patterns as ocean water temperatures rise above normal across the central and eastern Pacific, near the equator.
The Mississippi River, the third longest river in North America, is expected to crest over the weekend at Thebes, Illinois, at 47.5 feet, more than a foot and a half (46 cm) above the 1995 record, according to the National Weather Service.
Flood warnings were issued from eastern Oklahoma into southeastern Kansas, southern Missouri, central Illinois and parts of Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Florida panhandle.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who has been at an undisclosed foreign vacation destination with his family, intends to return to the state Thursday and spend the following days touring the flood-stricken areas, his spokeswoman told Reuters.
By press release, Rauner declared 12 counties disaster areas.
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