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Mississippi River Crests: Photo Gallery

Trash floats by flooded homes on Monday, May 9, in Memphis, Tenn.

Experts warned residents of the possibility that the floodwaters of the Lower Mississippi River could cause the levee system to fail.

"I wouldn't say that this is going to be a disaster, but the modern Mississippi levee system has never been tested under flood conditions like this," said Sam Bentley, the Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, CNN reported. "It's probably going to exceed water levels not seen since the Great Flood of 1927: historically the largest ever measured."

Flood waters continued to rise Tuesday as residents and farmers along the river raced to secure their homes and businesses as much as possible from the expected historic flooding.

While the levee system remains intact, low-lying areas will still be flooded with enough water to require a massive cleanup.

National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Borghoff said the river reached 47.85 feet in Memphis early Tuesday, just shy of the record of 48.7 feet recorded during a devastating 1937 flood in Memphis, which led to more than 500 deaths and the flooding of roughly 20 million acres.

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