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Memphis and Baton Rouge brace for record-breaking Mississippi flood

Residents of the Mississippi River floodplain are sandbagging or evacuating as the flood crest pushes south. It will pass Memphis on Tuesday and hit southern Louisiana on May 23.

Mississippi River overflow fills the floodplain, as the US Army Corps of Engineers flies over the region and prepares to open the Morganza Spillway for the first time since 1973. Record-breaking flood levels threaten Memphis, Baton Rouge, and most of southeastern Louisiana.

Ted Jackson / The Times-Picayune / AP

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Rising Mississippi River floodwaters have threatened cities along America's longest river and prompted President Obama to declare a state of emergency in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana in recent days. As the crest pushes south, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta region brace for their biggest flood in nearly a century.

New Orleans, with still-fresh memories of hurricane Katrina’s storm surge, should be protected by its levees, but river communities across low-lying parts of Louisiana and Mississippi are watching the approaching crest with alarm.

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