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End In Sight For Mississippi Flooding

The water is still well above the banks of the upper Mississippi River, but residents of flooded towns in the U.S. Midwest and those protected by levees and sandbags can see an ending: The river is cresting.

"It's quieter compared to earlier this week," said Louisiana emergency management director Mike Lesley, where sandbagging has largely ceased. This past weekend, he said, "I actually got some sleep."

The river started cresting Sunday at Canton, Missouri. In Mark Twain's hometown, Hannibal emergency management director John Hark said he was confident the town's levees would hold as the river begins to recede.

A reminder the threat had not passed came Sunday in Lincoln County, Missouri, where a levee overtopped and flooded about 1,000 acres and fewer than half a dozen homes.

"It just blew through our sandbags," said Lincoln County emergency management spokesman Andy Binder. Farther down river, the river dropped a bit Sunday.

Still, the devastation is widespread: The storms and flooding that started in early June have forced thousands from their homes across six states, killing 24 and injuring roughly 150.

Rural areas such as Lincoln County suffered the worst. There, more than 300 homes were flooded after more than 90 percent of the county's levees were overtopped.

In Canton, hundreds of volunteers and National Guard members spent the past week using sandbags in a battle to spare that town's levee a similar fate. Volunteers were back out Sunday, searching for leaks along the earthen structure that appeared to be holding up, said Monica Heaton, the city's emergency operations spokeswoman.

"Everything is in a wait and see mode," she said.

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, each flooded home is expected to produce one ton of garbage, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy. Overall, the city's 300,000 cubic yards of debris would fill two football fields 60 feet deep.

Building inspectors are now touring flooded homes, posting tags on those that may need to be knocked down - nearly 3,000 in all, Tracy adds.

Since the last devastating floods in 1993, more than 30,000 homes have been built in areas along the Mississippi River in places that were underwater, reports Tracy.

Sporadic rains expected throughout the week in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois will be scattered and light and shouldn't increase the flooding hazard, said National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Miller.

Miller said the river will start to recede after remaining at crest level for longer than initially expected. A series of levee breaches let flood waters spread over a wide swath of land in Missouri and Illinois, and Miller said that water will take time to drain back into the river and flow downstream.

"You don't have as high a crest, but yet you still have higher levels for a long period had (the levees) not broken," Miller said.