May was the 2nd-wettest month in the U.S. since 1895

Flooded house near the Mississippi River.
Floodwater from the Mississippi River rises around a home on June 1 in West Alton, Missouri. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Unrelenting rains catapulted May to the second-wettest month on record in the U.S., leaving vast tracts of farmlands flooded across the nation's midsection, and jeopardizing this year's corn crop.

The big picture: The May precipitation total for the Lower 48 states was 4.41 inches, which was 1.5 inches above average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The past 12 months have been the wettest such period on record for the Lower 48 since such records began in 1895, with rains especially concentrated in the Midwest, Plains and Northeast.

Levees breach, forcing thousands to evacuate Central U.S. floods

This image shows a small shop surrounded by floodwater.
Floodwater from the Mississippi River begins to cover the streets on May 30 in Barnhart, Mo. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Flooding in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma has caused thousands to evacuate, as recent levee breaches along the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers create new waterways that have spread into homes and businesses.

The latest: Arkansas officials called for 160 homes in Yell County to evacuate on Friday as a levee breach brought floodwaters to over 40 feet. Three Missouri towns were told to evacuate on Thursday after a levee breached along a creek connected to the Mississippi River. Rivers in the region are at or near all-time highs after weeks of torrential rainfall.