Massive floods in Midwestern states

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Boats were used to help residents evacuate their homes in northern in after rainstorms sweeping across the Midwest on Wednesday combined with melting snow to flood rivers, roads and low-lying areas in several states, AP said.

"I ended up grabbing my favorite blanket and stuffed animals, " Madison Schmidt, 15, who was taken from her home in Elkhart to a shelter at a church, told The Elkhart Truth newspaper.

In southwestern MI, the Kalamazoo Gazette reports continued flooding, with the Kalamazoo River at Comstock Township expected to rise until Saturday night.

The weather already was blamed for several fatalities, including the deaths of four people in a crash in Nebraska.

"While the rain has stopped, we are expecting significant flooding in certain areas of the city", said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

The Grand River crested in Lansing, Michigan, but rose Friday to the west in Grand Rapids and other communities.

The university put up sand-filled barriers around several vulnerable buildings on the banks of the Red Cedar River in an attempt to curb flooding, the first such barrier erected by the university.

Residents in Mississippi's Delta region were braced for a flood threat that was expected to continue through Saturday.

More rain was expected to fall on Thursday in the Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas where as much as 8 inches (20 cm) fell on Tuesday and Wednesday, closing roadways and schools.

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Midwestern states suffer from river flooding due to snow melt and rainfall.

City officials recommended anyone living in the possible flood areas to temporarily leave their home by noon Thursday.

"Be careful if you're trying to come to campus", Schor said Wednesday, noting the river was at its highest levels since 1975.

"Changing conditions are affecting not only the roads but sidewalks and walkways, " he said.

The Grand River crested in Lansing, almost three feet above flood stage and the second-highest mark ever for the waterway, according to the National Weather Service. The Red Cedar River was forecast to crest at 10.3 feet (3.14 meters).

In Illinois, the authorities issued an evacuation order Wednesday for residents in Marseilles who live near the Illinois River.

The flooding caused several cars to become stranded in high water and multiple roads had to be shut down, the Associated Press reports.

In central Michigan's Fairplain Township, a year-old girl was found dead Wednesday in standing water from rain and snowmelt in her backyard.

Some residents along the Muskegon River are being urged to leave their homes as floodwaters rise in parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

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