Massive Midwest Floods Reach 'Historic' Proportions Severe flooding continues in the midwest. Heavy rains are keeping the Mississippi River above flood stage, and it's expected to remain a flood threat through next week. Iowa is getting the worst of what the National Weather Service is calling a "historic hydrological event."

Massive Midwest Floods Reach 'Historic' Proportions

Massive Midwest Floods Reach 'Historic' Proportions

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Severe flooding continues in the midwest. Heavy rains are keeping the Mississippi River above flood stage, and it's expected to remain a flood threat through next week. Iowa is getting the worst of what the National Weather Service is calling a "historic hydrological event."

BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York. This is the Bryant Park Project.

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MIKE PESCA, host:

Overlooking historic Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan, live from NPR studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, Friday the 13th.

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PESCA: I'm Mike Pesca, and thanks to the scary movie, I have just wet myself. It is, indeed, Friday the 13th, 2008. Jason Voorhees, a criminal so brilliant he wore a hockey mask that didn't even had a painted eagle or a brick wall on it, like the goalies of today's do. You know, by wearing the mask, you know, he turned that from, oh, that's a goalie mask.

Now people see that white mask, and just say, oh, that's Jason from "Friday the 13th." It's when one guy gets a fashion accessory and ruins it for everyone else. Sort of like Regis Philbin did with those tone-on-tone ties and the shirt. Used to my fashion go-to, now everyone's like, what are you, hosting "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

We won't be talking about the movie, "Friday the 13th." We'll be talking about the actual phenomenon, Friday the 13th. We're going to explore some myths and legends surrounding the number 13 and this very day. How did it get to be such an awful number and an awful day?

Also on the show today, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that would give detainees of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the right to federal court to challenge their detention. We'll get an in-depth report from NPR's Nina Totenberg.

And as it is Friday, it means movies with our movie guy, Daniel Holloway. On the docket this weekend, the "Incredible Hulk," and the latest from M. Night Sh (ph) - how does he say his name? Shyamalan. I always get that wrong. As does, you know, most everyone else in Hollywood. His latest movie is called, "The Happening."

Also a talk with the author of a new biography on Sonic Youth. And we will get today's headlines in just a minute, but first...

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PESCA: "A historic hydrological event." That's what the National Weather Service is calling the continuing flooding in Midwest, and Iowa is getting the worst of it. As that state mourns the four teens killed by a tornado that hit a Boy Scout camp there Wednesday night, Iowa enters its seventh day of major flooding. Iowa Governor Chet Culver.

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Governor CHET CULVER (Democrat, Iowa): We now have 55 counties across the state that have been declared state disaster areas. We continue to have very serious problems in just about every river in our state reaching all-time record flood levels.

PESCA: In Cedar Rapids, 100 city blocks have flooded, and more than 3,000 homes have been evacuated. Homes in Iowa City have been cleared as well, with residents in Des Moines being urged to leave. Governor Culver and FEMA Director David Paulison are set to tour flood-damaged areas today. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says Iowa can depend on federal assistance.

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Secretary MICHAEL CHERTOFF (U.S. Department of Homeland Security): We will work as hard and as efficiently as we can to get everybody stabilized and back on their feet again and start the process of rebuilding as soon as possible.

PESCA: Thunderstorms added to floodwaters in Wisconsin yesterday. Power was shut off to hundreds of people outside of Madison. In southwestern parts of the state, flashfloods closed two highways and destroyed homes. Central and eastern parts of the state also saw tornados last night. In Minnesota yesterday, one man was killed when his car slid into floodwaters. The Cedar River has reached seven feet above sea level, and high water has also affected Indiana and Illinois this week.

The National Weather Service says the Midwest should get a break from heavy rains over the next few days, but communities in northern Missouri are sandbagging in anticipation of a swell in the Missouri River that's expected this weekend. And the Mississippi River remains a flood threat through next Wednesday. You can go to npr.org throughout the day for updates on this story. Now let's get some more of today's headlines with the BPP's Mark Garrison.

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