Nightly News | May 16, 2011
>> reporter: 1400 homes and businesses are expected to be flooded as the mississippi river surpasses levels set back in 1927 .
>> this home is elevated, so you can tell the difference between the ones on eerlth side of it.
>> for families in low-lying neighborhoods, disaster is already at their doorstep and well beyond.
>> you have to think of the human element as you come through here, you know, that 50e67 of these homes that you're passing by, there's a family that has been forever changed because of this.
>> reporter: along the state's floodzone, more than 3,000 people have evacuated. on saturday, debra emery built this dirt levee, hoping to block the water.
>> we decided it was up to us. if we didn't block the water, no one else would. it was our house.
>> reporter: today, she discovered her makeshift levee broke.
>> a dev stating loss. something my husband and where worked for all our lives. now we have to start over.
>> it's a heart wrenching situation and a true disaster, and 3450i heart goes out to everyone who is directly affected.
>> reporter: the safety of the entire delta region is riding on multiple levee systems including this backwater levee. experts estimates 550,000 acres of land could be under water if the levee fails. this is what it looks like today.
>> i'm confident they're operating as designed. we'll continue to see sand boils and seepbage hind the levees, but that's the way they operate. the levees won't overtop as they give the predictions for the crests right now.
>> reporter: promises the residents hope will hold water. it's expecting to crest on thursday at 57.5 feet. for the families already flooded, those numbers are just academics.
>> thanh truong and anne thompson before that, part of the team covering the flooding in the south.