SIKESTON, Mo. — The Army Corps of Engineers planned to blow a nearly two-mile-wide hole in an earthen levee late Monday, unleashing a muddy torrent into empty farm fields in a desperate bid to save an Illinois town from rising floodwaters. Engineers announced their intention to carry out the blast after spending hours pumping liquid explosives into the Birds Point levee near tiny Cairo, Ill. Seemingly endless rain has raised concerns about the strain on the floodwalls in Cairo and other cities. Blowing open the Birds Point levee would inundate 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland. Engineers believe sacrificing the levee could reduce the water levels at Cairo by about 4 feet in fewer than two days. Officials in Louisiana and Mississippi are warning that the river could bring a surge of water unseen since the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.
Search under way for missing scouts
LODI, Ark. — Authorities are searching an Arkansas wilderness area for a group of Louisiana Boy Scouts who they believe are stranded behind rain-swollen waterways. Art Hawkins, of the Evangeline Area Council in Lafayette, La., said by phone Monday that no one has heard from the two adults and six experienced scouts since they arrived at Ouachita National Forest on Thursday. The remote area has little cellphone coverage. Hawkins says searchers found the group’s van parked at the head of a trail the Scouts planned to hike. Authorities believe the group got cut off by rising water levels on the Little Missouri River or one of its many tributaries.
FROM WIRE SERVICES