In response to recent torrential rains, runoff has the Mississippi River on the rise once again with waters expected to crest within several feet of record levels in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois during the first part of June.
While the exact level of the Mississippi River will depend on additional rainfall, the surge of water working downstream has set into motion a new round of flooding or will continue flooding that began months ago.
"Many rivers over the central United States have been out of their banks since the bomb cyclone during the middle of March," according to AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Thompson.
It can take a month or more for runoff from heavy rain over the middle of the nation to flow to the Mississippi Delta.
The ongoing high water levels and rounds of heavy rain will not only continue to take a toll on crops, but also on barge transportation along the Mississippi River waterway. High water levels can flood terminals and limit the amount of barges that tugs can transport.
At the anticipated levels, the middle portion of the Mississippi will again flood portions of unprotected towns and farmland, following a brief respite from the past couple of weeks.
In Rock Island, Ill., and Muscatine, Iowa, the Mississippi is expected to crest within a couple of feet of the record this weekend.
In the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois, the Mississippi River has experienced its longest stretch of major flooding on record. The crest of 22.7 feet during early May set a record at Rock Island.
In St. Louis and Alton, Ill., the Mississippi is forecast by National Weather Service hydrologists to reach its second-highest crest on record during the middle of next week.
As the new surge of water works downstream, it will meet up with surges from the Missouri River first and then the Arkansas River later.
Since last week, flooding from the Arkansas River has completely cut off the community of Braggs, located in eastern Oklahoma about 100 miles southeast of Tulsa.
People have had to travel out of the town by boat or by air to get needed supplies such as gasoline, medicine and groceries, according to The New York Times. At least two dozen people were evacuated by the Oklahoma National Guard on Sunday.
"We're just blocked off from civilization," Braggs resident Carrie Ross, 35, told the Times.
On Tuesday, the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office said a plan was approved to move stranded families across the military base at Camp Gruber on a designated roadway maintained by state and county assets. Officials recommended that residents pack clothing in the event a return trip to the area was suspended due to any inclement weather.
The Army Corps of Engineers has decreased the release of water into the Arkansas River from the Keystone Dam to 265,000 cubic feet per second, down from 275,000 earlier this week.
A state of emergency remains in effect for all of Oklahoma as well as Arkansas.
Farther downstream along the Mississippi River, only lower water levels along the Tennessee and Ohio rivers may help to mitigate the magnitude of flooding from western Kentucky to northeastern Louisiana and northwestern Mississippi.
The Tennessee River empties into the lower part of the Ohio River. The Ohio River is a major contributor to water levels on the lower Mississippi River.
At Baton Rouge, La., the Mississippi has been above flood stage since early January.
Along this lower part of the river, water levels may remain at major flood stage through the end of June and the river may stay above flood stage into the middle of the summer or perhaps longer.
In Baton Rouge, the duration of flooding is likely to exceed that of the Great Flood of 1927.
The seeds of the 1927 disaster were planted during the summer of 1926 as heavy rain fell on parts of the central Plains and Midwest. The subsequent flood was focused over the middle and lower portion of the Mississippi Basin.
In comparison, the Great Flood of 1993 occurred from April to October and was centered over the middle and upper portions of the Mississippi Basin.
While rainfall is likely to become less frequent over the North Central states in general, more rounds of heavy rain are likely to target the South Central states over the next several weeks.
"Much of the area from Iowa and eastern Missouri through the Great Lakes region may have a two- to three-day stretch of rain-free weather starting during the latter part of this weekend and into early next week," according to Accuweather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson.
While brief episodes of heavy rain are likely to follow, there may be enough separation to allow streams and rivers to slowly recede with some fluctuations.
However, areas farther south over the central and southern Plains are likely to remain unsettled in the coming weeks, which will aggravate flash, small stream and river flooding.
There may also be an eastward extension of frequent downpours over the lower part of the Mississippi Basin, which may significantly add to runoff during the first part of June.
This grim outlook may bring additional major flooding even after waters along the Arkansas River in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas recede from their record or near-record levels.
In portions of Arkansas, the river by the same name has topped record levels by 1-3 feet.