The 'Mighty' Mississippi river has risen steeply - in some places to record levels - as a result of higher than usual rains, flooding various areas along its winding trajectory cutting across the central U.S.

Many residents nearby have been forced to evacuate their homes while at some locations, flood control systems have been activated.

Heavy rain in April along the South and Midwest has led to rising river levels.

The National Weather Service is predicting the flood's crest will continue to move downstream towards New Orleans during the next two weeks.

Officials on Saturday opened the flood gates of the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana at one sparsely populated area to protect the bigger cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans to the South.