As the Mississippi River began to recede today, after flooding businesses and threatening homeowners in the small town of Grafton, Ill., families farther along the river continued to pray for the levees to hold.
“You can’t stop the river,” said Alice Wetzel of Alton, Ill.
Tonight, the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers, as well as parts of Iowa remained in flood stage in the Midwest.
North of St. Louis, at least two levees that had been struggling to hold back the mighty Mississippi were breached in the past three days.
Water poured over the levees and authorities raced to shore them up.
The sandbags could only do so much, though. At one point, the floodwaters forced the Clark Bridge to close. It was reopened today.
Marty Harp and Laurie Wild’s art mall in Grafton, Ill., soaked in 3 feet of water. When the river reaches 28.7 feet, their business floods, they said. Today, the Mississippi’s waters hit 30.4.
Yet Harp and Wild remained optimistic.
“We’ve got each other,” they told ABC News. “We’re both alive.”
Others told ABC News today that the water had risen fast, even coming up through the sewers. River Road, a popular main street through town, remained completely underwater.
Tonight the river was cresting south of St. Louis. The Mississippi wasn’t expected to crest farther south until Thursday, but residents in the area didn’t expect to sleep easy for at least a week.