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When the waters of the Mississippi River broke in April 2011, it created one of the largest and the most damaging floods in the U.S. in the past century. Flooding was caused by two major storm systems that deposited record levels of rainfall on the Mississippi River watershed. When that additional water combined with the springtime snowmelt, the river and many of its tributaries began to swell and spill over. Certain areas were inundated with 20-30 feet of water forcing evacuation of tens of thousands of homes in areas along the Mississippi and the Yazoo River. But many decided to stay put building dykes around their houses instead, creating tiny island homes.

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A levee protects a home surrounded by floodwater from the Yazoo River on May 18, 2011 near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The flooded Mississippi River is forcing the Yazoo River to top its banks where the two meet near Vicksburg causing towns and farms upstream on the Yazoo to flood. (Photo: Scott Olson)

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