Army Corps decides to blow up Missouri levee

Monday, May 2, 2011 | 5:39 p.m. CDT; updated 10:46 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 2, 2011

SIKESTON — The Army Corps of Engineers plans to go ahead with plans to blast open an earthen levee in Missouri in a desperate bid to protect the Illinois town of Cairo from the raging Mississippi River.

The demolition could reduce water levels surrounding Cairo but will completely flood a prime patch of Missouri farmland.

The agency confirmed its plans Monday afternoon, but it was not immediately clear when the blast would take place.

Five more inches of rain fell over the weekend, putting new strains on the flood wall protecting the town, which sits precariously at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. More rain was in the forecast.

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