TODAY   |  June 05, 2013

Towns along Mississippi River cope with flooding

The storms that recently hit much of the Midwest have caused waters to rise along the Mississippi River, where communities are sandbagging and creating barricades to try to mitigate the flooding. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> towns along the mississippi river are scrambling this morning to deal with some very dangerous flooding. it's already led hundreds of homeowners to evacuate. nbc's kevin tibbles is in west alton . kevin , good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, i'm standing pretty much at the confluence of the missouri and mississippi rivers, and while people around here probably thought the flooding season was over, all these storms and all the rain they've dropped are making otherwise. once again, they are manning the barricade as long the mississippi .

>> we're just going to get our stuff out of here and vacate the premises. you can't really predict the river.

>> reporter: voluntary evacuations are in place here in the town of west alton , missouri , as the rising waters now threaten this tiny community, about a half hour drive from st. louis. local casino was closed as a precaution.

>> me and other cousins are going to take the kids and get away from danger.

>> reporter: outside town, a 150-foot very much stretch of a levee gave way as emergency teams worked to get residents to higher ground. the u.s. army corps of engineers says the inis miss is above flood stage in many stages and ten feet above normal in st. louis.

>> to help out in some way.

>> i think it's just really good for all of us to get out and help everybody.

>> reporter: and with more rain in the forecast, many of these communities may indeed have some more sandbagging to do. matt?

>> kevin tibbles, you talk about that forecast, al's following the flooding situation and the threat of more severe weather today. al, good morning to you.

>> good morning, guys, and it is not looking good. we have warm, moist air coming out of the south, cold front to the east. you can see the heavy thunderstorms heading toward west alton and the mississippi and missouri rivers. that's not good news. here is the risk area we're looking at stretching from arizona all the way into arkansas, along the mississippi river . super cells, possibility of tornadoes. rainfall amounts over the next 24 hours we're talking about one to two inches throughout parts of the midwest including the mississippi river valley , the central mississippi river valley , plus we have new detail this is morning coming up, the latest on the tornado, that what was an ef3 tornado in el reno , oklahoma, it is now categorized an ef5 tornado, and it is a 2.6 mile wide tornado, that is the widest tornado ever, and it's the first time there have been two ef5 tornadoes within a 100-mile radius in two weeks. so this is one for the record books, and when we come back, we've got development down in the gulf. could this be our first tropical storm ? we'll have the details coming up.