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RESIDENTS FEELING MAROONED, HELPLESS

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Residents along the rain-swollen Mississippi River are beginning to feel marooned and helpless.

"I thought I saw a cow floating out there a while ago," said Dale Parsons, sitting on his front deck."I might look like I'm kind of relaxed, but I'm not," he said. "I'm just at the point where there's nothing to do."

Nothing to do but watch high waters since Saturday, when a weak spot in a dirt levee gave way.

Towns and cities along the Mississippi have suffered enormous damage from the flooding, the region's worst in nearly 30 years. Millions of acres of farmland also have been flooded and officials are projecting heavy crop losses.

The river has inundated low-lying farms and homes in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, and it flowed unimpeded into downtown Davenport, Iowa, where it was 7 feet above flood stage.

A levee broke early Monday near Peruque, at a sharp bend in the river northwest of St. Louis, and threatened to inundate 11 farmhouses in nearby St. Charles, authorities said.

In Iowa alone, officials have projected $750 million in losses.

Rain was in the forecast for each of the next several days, and officials were warning it could prolong the flooding for weeks.

Flood stage at Winfield is 26 feet, and the river rose to nearly 35 feet Sunday.

The river, usually a half-mile wide in the town, grew to five times that width by Sunday, and the water still was rising, threatening the homes of many of Winfield's 592 residents.

More than 150 families had left their homes by Sunday.

"It's like an open lake out there," said Mike Frost, who owns a marina and boat ramp near the break in the levee. "It's so windy, there are 2-foot waves and whitecaps. I'm not going out anymore. It's getting too dangerous."