Floodwaters coursing southward through Indiana breached two levees and threatened several more, chasing hundreds of people from their homes. Surging currents disrupted barge traffic on the Ohio River.
In Cincinnati, the Ohio River was expected to crest Thursday at 5 feet above flood stage, its highest level since 1969, and water covered streets in the East End neighborhood.Authorities on Wednesday closed a floodgate at Riverfront Stadium, where the Cincinnati Bengals meet the Houston Oilers in a football playoff game Sunday. Floodgates also were sealed across the river at Covington and Newport, Ky., shutting access to floating restaurants and other riverfront businesses.
The flooding began Saturday from heavy weekend rains combined with melting snow.
Floodwaters subsided in northern and central Indiana on Wednesday but will threaten southern portions of the state through early next week, officials said.
"One county gets out of it and another county gets the water," said Kelly Stemnock of the State Emergency Management Agency.
Portions of dirt levees in Vigo, Daviess and Gibson counties failed Wednesday despite efforts of volunteers who piled sandbags night and day in freezing cold.