A state of emergency has been declared across much of the Midwest in the USA after heavy rain caused widespread flooding.  At least three people are known to have died as rivers, streams and creeks overflowed.

No less than six states have been affected. On Sunday, more than 45 rivers or streams were in major flood in parts of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.

The floods have reached record levels in parts of Illinois and Michigan. The rain was heavy enough in Chicago to rip open a sinkhole large enough to swallow three cars. One driver required hospital treatment.

Burlington, Iowa saw the Mississippi River reach its fourth highest level since records began after severe weather brought hail storms and 175mm of rain to the region. A number of people were trapped in their cars and there were mudslides with dozens of roads and bridges damaged or blocked.

In Indiana, the high waters threatened several towns, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. The Wabash River in Tippecanoe County reached its highest level since 1958.

The flooding is set to linger for some time yet and the river levels in parts of southern Illinois and Missouri may not crest until later this week. Worse still we do expect further rain across much of the Midwest throughout much of Monday night and Tuesday.

We could see a further 25 to 30mm of rain affecting parts of Wisconsin into Missouri. At the same time we could also see a further 15cm of new snow over the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Concerns are further heightened by the heavy snow already lying across northern parts of the Midwest as a result of the long protracted winter. We are likely to see subsequent flooding from this when the thaw sets in over the coming weeks and makes its way into tributaries of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Source: Al Jazeera