MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The rising Mississippi River submerged a stretch of railroad track near here yesterday, forcing Amtrak to put passengers onto buses between Minneapolis and Chicago.

Paul Wong
Inmates from the Scott County Jail fill sandbags yesterday, in Princeton, Iowa to protect the town from rising waters.<br><br>AP PHOTO

The Mississippi also seeped into basements and covered parks and boat landings, sending residents of low-lying areas to higher ground.

Flood warnings were in effect from the Twin Cities in Minnesota along the Minnesota-Wisconsin state line to northern Iowa. Communities along other rivers in Minnesota and North Dakota waited to see if sandbag levees would hold.

Light snow fell on the Red River Valley yesterday, but the National Weather Service said it would not affect the river, which crested during the weekend and started to recede slowly. The valley is along the Minnesota-North Dakota state line.

A search resumed yesterday for a 19-year-old man missing in the Minnesota River near Shakopee, Minn. His older brother was rescued Sunday. The two men had driven onto a flooded road, bypassing warning signs, and were swept away by rushing water in the area southwest of Minneapolis.

“It”s going to get worse,” said Al Blencoe, an emergency dispatcher in La Crosse, Wis., about 150 miles southeast of Minneapolis. The river there was 4 feet above flood stage yesterday morning at 16 feet.

“Unfortunately, when you live in a river town, you have to take it in stride,” said Brian Larson, who lives on French Island.

The river was expected to crest near La Crosse at 17 feet early Wednesday, just short of the record 17.9 feet set in 1965.

“It”s been coming up a good foot every day,” said La Crosse homeowner Mike Flaten from the cab of a front-end loader filled with sandbags.

Two houses down, Marjorie and Charlie Collins carried cartons from their wet basement but considered themselves lucky. They had built their home 2 feet above the 100-year flood mark, and their front yard was dry while canoes and boats floated in their neighbors” yards.

“I”ll never forget this one, this Easter. We”re lucky. We have nothing to complain about, only a little water in the crawl space,” Marjorie Collins said.

Police closed almost every park on the river”s edge and several boat landings, and joggers were warned of washed-out running trails.

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota”s counties had reported some level of flooding. Only a few homes were evacuated but many of the states rivers have yet to crest.

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