Flooding continues into weekend in several Midwest states

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Flooding is expected to continue through the weekend in Michigan, Indiana and other Midwest states that have been swamped by high water from heavy rains and melting snow, prompting evacuations and local states of emergency.

"I ended up grabbing my favorite blanket and stuffed animals, " Madison Schmidt, 15, who was taken from her home in Elkhart to a shelter at a church, told The Elkhart Truth newspaper.

The flooding forced hundreds of people to place sandbags around their property and flee their homes in small communities like Niles, Indiana and Marseilles, Illinois that sit on rivers, already beyond their flood stages, that were not expected to crest for days. The weather has already been blamed for hundreds of vehicle crashes and several fatalities, including a crash that killed four people along a slippery interstate in Nebraska. Mayor Andy Schor declared a state of emergency for the city in anticipation of flooding in residential areas.

The Grand River crested in Lansing, Michigan, but rose Friday to the west in Grand Rapids and other communities. Classes in several buildings have been relocated and the school put up sand-filled barriers in an attempt to curb flooding. Fear of the rising river also prompted the evacuation of an Ottawa nursing home.

The National Weather Service also issued flood warnings for parts of Missouri and Texas.

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And rain inundated parts of the Deep South Thursday.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday that between 3 and 7 inches of rain had fallen since early Monday in the area, where flood warnings or watches were in effect until Thursday night. City officials said that anyone living in possible flood areas should temporarily leave by midday Thursday.

Indiana Michigan Power says it's working with local officials and first responders to safely disconnect power to customers in flooded areas.

"Changing conditions are affecting not only the roads but sidewalks and walkways, " he said.

The National Weather Service predicts the Grand River in Lansing will crest at 14.6 feet, almost three feet above flood stage by late Thursday.

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In Chicago, residents near the Illinois River were told to evacuate at least through Thursday.

State police said a 1-year-old girl was found dead Wednesday in standing water from rains and snowmelt in her backyard in central Michigan's Fairplain Township.

Some residents along the Muskegon River are being urged to leave their homes as floodwaters rise in parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

The flooding caused several cars to become stranded in high water and multiple roads had to be shut down, the Associated Press reports.

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