Death Toll Rising as Flood Waters Devastate Southern U.S.

MISSOURI  --  At least seven people have died in Arkansas and five in Missouri as flooding devastated parts of the region.

Water has reached historic levels, and the rain is still expected to fall. CNN's Elwyn Lopez had the latest information from Missouri.

"Unbelievable, the amount of water that came through here. It's just unreal," said volunteer Bill Coats.

Weeks of heavy rainfall has pushed rivers past their boundaries and punched holes in levees.

"It's been, I can't explain it. It's just overwhelming," said Michelle Worley, whose home flooded.

Bridges have been wiped out, hundreds of roads closed, and thousands of people living in towns across the region have been pushed from their homes.

"This little community has been devastated," said Oregon County emergency management director Lee Simmons.

River towns have worked tirelessly to save homes and businesses, and emergency officials warn residents to remain vigilant and heed any warnings they receive.

"Take the long way, what's the risk of losing everything? Your loved ones not getting to see you again, you know, just use common sense right now," said Captain Ricky Morales of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Water is receding in some places and the cleanup has begun, but more rain is in the forecast and some people worry for the future.

"Just scared, nervous, you know, it happened last year, we never expected really that to happen and now we are seeing it again. Could it come next year and the years after that? We don't know."

Homes and businesses near the St. Louis area are completely underwater. Authorities are telling residents to treat this like a liquid blizzard and to avoid the roads.