Mississippi River cresting in flood-hit Illinois, southern Missouri

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ST. LOUIS (CNN) Nearly 10 million people across the Midwest were under a flood warning Saturday as several spots along the Mississippi River were expected to reach near-record crests this weekend, the latest threats to a region that got slammed this week by severe flooding.

The river's cresting -- the highest stage or level of a flood wave -- was due to affect communities in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said, adding that even after a river crests, flooding can still be a problem.

Those who live near the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau in southern Illinois and southeast Missouri prepared for an onslaught. The Mississippi River, which separates the two states, was projected to crest Saturday at a height of 48.5 feet near Cape Girardeau, just below its record high of 48.9 feet.

Floods already have killed six people in Missouri and seven in Arkansas, including a 10-year-old who was swept away while climbing a fence to avoid the water, officials said.

Floods late this week ravaged communities near St. Louis due to cresting of the Meramec River, which runs into the Mississippi River. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri posted video Friday from a helicopter showing flooding in Eureka, a suburb of St. Louis.

"The smaller rivers always recede sooner. A small creek would rise fairly quickly, and will come down fairly quickly," said Mark Fuchs of the National Weather Service in St. Louis.

"Eventually, that water goes out to the larger river, which is the last thing to rise and the last thing to crest," Fuchs said.

CNN's Faith Karimi, Samira Said, Janet DiGiacomo, Chuck Johnston, David Williams and Jeanne Bonner contributed to this report.

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