(NECN/KPLR/KTVI: Birds Point, MO) - Federal engineers detonated explosives overnight at the Birds Point-New Madrid levee along the Mississippi River.
It's part of a three-stage effort to save the small Illinois town of Cairo from massive flooding.
Critics say the move will ultimately flood about 100 homes in Missouri, and destroy more than 100,000 acres of rich farmland.
But, the The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says rising floodwaters are creating an "epic flood" that's "absolutely testing the system."
Experts believe blasting the levee will drop the river level by as much as four feet...at least for a few days.
But, with more rain on the way, there's a possibility water levels could rise again.