In Mississippi backwater, flood rises after weeks of waiting

ROLLING FORK, Miss. (AP) — An unusual flood is submerging thousands of square miles of Mississippi’s Delta region.

Water is rising behind a levee and is predicted to cause record flooding.

The Yazoo Backwater Levee protects thousands of square miles of the Mississippi Delta region from even worse flooding that could come from the Mississippi River. But when officials close a floodgate keeping out the big river, water draining from the north has nowhere to go, rising inside the levee.

That gate has been closed since Feb. 15 and region is on track for the worst flood since 1973.

When the levee was proposed, it was supposed to be paired pumps to suck water out. But environmentalists successfully fought the pumps for decades, saying they would harm wetlands and would mainly benefit a few farmers.

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