MI mayor declares state of emergency

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Officials in northern Indiana's largest city were forced to shut down its wastewater treatment plant as it was swamped by flooding from a record-high river crest caused by heavy rain and melting snow in parts of the Midwest.

Flood warnings were in effect in Illinois, Indiana and MI with flood watches in Texas and Arkansas. The Red Cross opened shelters to assist those in need.

Residents in Mississippi's Delta region are bracing for a flood threat that's expected to continue through Saturday night.

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

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

Flooding also hit nearby Michigan State University, where roads, parking lots, and athletic fields were covered by water from the Red Cedar River, which runs through its East Lansing campus.

"This city has not seen flooding like this in the last 45 years", Elkhart, Indiana Mayor Tim Neese said.

I spent my whole shift covering flooding in South Bend today. Classes in several buildings have been relocated and the school put up sand-filled barriers in an attempt to curb flooding.

And the mayor of Goshen, Ind., said the Elkhart River also reached a historic level there on Wednesday and was only continuing to rise, reports Jennifer Weingart of member station WVPE.

"Changing conditions are affecting not only the roads but sidewalks and walkways, " he said. In Oklahoma, authorities said a 53-year-old man drowned when he drove onto a flooded bridge near Stilwell and was swept off the roadway.

In Chicago, residents near the Illinois River were told to evacuate at least through Thursday.

And rain inundated parts of the Deep South Thursday.

Lansing, Mich., declared a state of emergency Wednesday ahead of expected flooding. Several vehicles became stuck in high water, but no serious injuries were immediately reported.

Melting snow and heavy rain prompted the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings for parts of northern IL and flood watches for central IL. Two days of rain in southern Wisconsin also swelled waterways, leading to a handful of high-water rescues.

Photos taken from Michigan State Police helicopter give a bird's eye view of the extensive flooding in Ingham, Berrien and Newaygo counties this week.

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