Nightly News   |  May 05, 2011

High anxiety along mightier-than-usual Mississippi

As people along southern stretches of the Big Muddy prepare for a possible onslaught of floodwater, some who have been hit already are blaming the government. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> as promised now, to the floods in the mississippi , and in some of the flooding, officials have had to make a terrible choice, to blow up some of the levees, to flood some farmland in order to spare some other places, towns with larger populations. so in that region, some people are left relieved and others angry. ron mott tonight in dires brg, tennessee. good evening.

>> good evening to you. there's a built of good news to report from here. the water level has peaked where it stands this evening, but that's clearly not the case in a lot of other places. for the second straight spring, john anddora have stood watch as river water inched toward their house in dyersburg, 80 miles north of memphis, but unlike last year when flooding seeped inside their home, they're feeling lucky.

>> you think in the morning, when i get out of bed, am i going to put my feet in the water?

>> reporter: while the worst seems to bebehind the residents, the situation upstream is more dire, especially for farmers who make their living along the mississippi . the army corps of engineers has intensionally breached the river, blowing up three levees. first in illinois, then in missouri, and this afternoon, hickman, kentucky, sending tourants of water onto the farmland. they say it was to protect the people and property, but farmers say it will cost them millions in losses. ed marshall said he owned about one tenth of the land flooded and considers his wheat, soy, lost for the year.

>> it up sets me. in fact, the day i moved out of my aufts and out of my shops and got everybody out of here, i came back for one last look, and yeah, it makes you sick.

>> reporter: today, and he fellow farmers attended a meeting.

>> it's been a hardship on me and everyone who lives in the floodway, forms in the floodway. it's a hard deal.

>> reporter: back in dyersburg, the richards are counting their good fortune, but they're concerned about flooding victims and those to come downriver.

>> i feel for them, really, i do. i do. i feel for them because i know what they're going through. it's just heartbreaking.

>> in advance, a flooding that is expected downstream in mississippi , president obama has declared 11 counties there federal disaster areas.

>> ron mott continuing in tennessee today. thanks.