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FLOODWATERS RISING

Federal officials were monitoring 19 vulnerable levees on the rising Mississippi River and its tributaries, warning that hundreds of homes in Illinois and Missouri could be threatened by a rare winter flood that already forced the partial closure of interstate highways and widespread evacuations.

As the swollen rivers and streams pushed to virtually unheard-of heights Tuesday, an unknown number of inmates were transferred out of an Illinois state prison threatened by flooding.

Illinois’ governor declared disasters in seven counties and Missouri’s governor activated the National Guard to help divert traffic from submerged roads.

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