This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

    The Mississippi River flows down the middle of the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, melted snow and heavy rains from the north are moving south. The result has been what some people are calling the worst flooding in eighty years in states along the Mississippi.

    In Louisiana, engineers are working to keep floodwaters away from two big cities -- New Orleans and Baton Rouge. New Orleans is still recovering from the failure of its flood controls during Hurricane Katrina in two thousand five.

    A plan to direct some of the water into the Morganza Spillway means flooding rich farmlands in another part of the state. As many as twenty-five thousand people may have to leave areas that would be flooded. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been urging them to prepare to leave.
    一项将洪水引入摩根萨溢洪道的计划意味着该州另一个农田肥沃的地区将被淹没。多达2,5000人不得不撤离那片可能被淹没的地区。路易斯安那州州长博比·金达尔(Bobby Jindal)一再督促他们做好离开的准备。

    The Morganza Spillway is about seventy-five kilometers upriver from Baton Rouge, the state capital. The spillway is a thirty-two-kilometer-long channel that can take waters from the Mississippi to another river system. The spillway was used only once before, in nineteen seventy-three.

    Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers exploded a three-kilometer-wide hole along an earthen levee in Missouri. They did that to protect river towns in two other states, Kentucky and Illinois. But fifty-two thousand hectares of farmland were flooded as a result.

    The American insurance industry says natural disasters have already caused five billion dollars in damage this year. A record number of tornadoes struck along a path from Texas to Georgia. The storms killed more than two hundred people in six states. At the same time, states like Texas and Oklahoma are experiencing extremely dry weather and high winds that have caused wildfires.

    President Obama plans to inspect the flooding on Monday. He will visit Memphis, Tennessee, where the Mississippi River reached nearly record levels earlier this week.

    The river has been setting records in places like Vicksburg in the state of Mississippi. But experts say the situation would have been far worse if not for the levees, spillways and other flood controls built along the river. These have been built since nineteen twenty-seven, when flooding killed more than one thousand people.
    In North Vicksburg, friends and family members have been helping Joann Parks prepare to leave.
    在维克斯堡北部,一些亲朋好友正在帮助乔安·帕克斯(Joann Parks)做撤离准备。
    JOANN PARKS: "It is just a lot of things that have got to go. Some of the things have got to go, some of the thing I don't know where we are going to store it. It's just hard, I know there is a lot of things we are not going to be able to save."

    Vicksburg lies where the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers meet. There was an important battle there in eighteen sixty-three during the Civil War -- which still makes it a popular stop for visitors.
    维克斯堡位于密西西比河与耶珠河(Yazoo Rivers)交汇处。1863年美国内战期间的一场非常重要的战役就发生于此,使得维克斯堡成为最受游客欢迎的一个地方。

    The waters at Vicksburg are expected to reach their highest levels -- seventeen and a half meters – sometime next week. Officials say one thousand homes in the area could be flooded.

    Seventy-year-old Winston Holman has lived in Vicksburg all his life.
    七十岁的温斯顿·霍尔曼(Winston Holman)有生以来一直居住在维克斯堡。

    WINSTON HOLMAN: "I have never seen the river as high as it is right now. And I hope I never see it get this high again. Because, it is hurting a lot of folks around here and a lot of businesses."