Residents of low-lying towns stacked sandbags or grabbed belongings and evacuated after a foot of rain pushed rivers and creeks out of their banks in the nation's midsection. At least 13 deaths had been linked to the weather, and three people were missing.
Record or near-record flood crests were forecast at several towns in Missouri on Wednesday. Flooding was reported in large areas of Arkansas and parts of southern Illinois, southern Indiana and southwestern Ohio, and schools were closed in parts of western Kentucky because of flooded roads.
"We've got water rising everywhere," said Jeff Korb, president of the Vanderbugh County, Indiana, commissioners.
The National Weather Service posted flood and flash flood warnings from Texas to Pennsylvania.
After two days, rain had finally stopped falling by Wednesday afternoon in much of Missouri and Arkansas as the weather system crawled toward the Northeast, drenching the Ohio Valley and spreading snow over parts of northern New England. A parallel band of locally heavy rain stretched from Alabama and Georgia to the mid-Atlantic states.
Atlanta police closed some downtown streets in case the stormy weather knocked down more broken and debris from buildings damaged by Friday's tornado.
In Ohio and other areas, the rain fell on ground already saturated from heavy snowfall less than two weeks ago.
Five deaths were linked to the flooding in Missouri, five people were killed in a highway wreck in heavy rain in Kentucky and a 65-year-old Ohio woman appeared to have drowned while checking on a sump pump in her home. In southern Illinois, two bodies were found hours after floodwaters swept a pickup truck off a rural road.