Communities along the swollen Mississippi River and other rain-engorged waterways are waging feverish bids to hold back floodwaters that may soon approach record levels.

Barge on Mississippi River (Getty Images)

After days of torrential rains, Midwesterners are watching rivers and tributaries rise -- a sharp contrast to the drought. Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin all saw flooding Thursday and Friday, with Illinois bearing the brunt of it.

National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said the Mississippi River rose a "pretty amazing" nearly 10 feet in 36 hours at Quincy, Ill., about 120 miles from St. Louis.

Months ago, the Mississippi was so low that barge traffic was threatened. Now, its barge traffic has effectively been halted from the Quad Cities in Iowa and Illinois to near St. Louis.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)