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TODAY   |  April 24, 2013

Midwest battles dangerous record flooding

Homes and businesses are underwater throughout the Midwest as heavy rains cause rivers to rise dangerously high. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> and floodwaters are rising in the midwest and more rain is adding to the misery. kevin tibbles is in hard-hit, peori peoria , illinois.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. here along the illinois river , the mississippi, and elsewhere are battling to hold these historic water levels back. homes underwater in peoria , as the swollen illinois river crests at record levels.

>> we're amazed at the power of the water.

>> reporter: the city's popular riverfront has been completely consumed by the river.

>> this is probably the highest the river's ever been.

>> reporter: and dozens of peoria businesses have been swamped.

>> it's having a huge economic impact on businesses in this town and communities up and down the illinois river .

>> reporter: take a look at one neighborhood on higher ground. homes now perched precariously after a series of landslides.

>> we had 30 minutes to get out, because the land was unstable.

>> reporter: several roads remain closed in the st. louis area. and in clarksville, missouri, residents are stepping up sandbagging efforts. in forest view , near chicago, block after block now piled with waterlogged belongings.

>> if you take a look around, it's like a war zone .

>> reporter: some like rebecca ogara had to flee by boat.

>> it was coming fast and there were fish, even, in her basement.

>> reporter: in fargo, north dakota , more than 500 semis hit the streets, loaded with sandbags. back here in peoria , david lahood vows to rebuild.

>> it's just a house. we're just glad it's not floating away.

>> reporter: much of this region was in extreme drought last year. now, with all this water, many farmers are beginning to ask what's going to be happening to this year's crop. savannah?

>> kevin tibbles in peoria , thank