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Thursday
May122011

Mississippi River Floods Millions of Acres of Farmland

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- It could be weeks before all the flooding is over in the deep south.  During the interim, residents can only pray that Mississippi River flooding doesn't disrupt more lives than it already has.

Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi are hardest hit by the floods, with three million acres already swamped by water from the river and its tributaries.  The misery is being felt in particular by Arkansas farmers as they assess the damage from over a million acres of farmland currently underwater.

For now, the National Weather Service is predicting that the Mississippi will crest on or about May 21 at an estimated 64 feet. 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is getting his state prepared for the worst of it from next Sunday through the following weekend.  In the meantime, new water level records are being set literally by the hour.

Memphis was threatened earlier in the week but didn't experience flooding as bad as expected, even as the Mississippi crested just a few inches shy of 48 feet, which is the record set in 1937.

The flooding hasn't ruined plans for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest this Saturday, which will attract visitors from all over the South.

One Memphis tourist official said that while the river looks like an ocean now, "some people have this misconception that we're floating around on life rafts."  He said the city is basically high and dry.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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