Flood concerns rise as Mississippi River crests in Iowa city
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — The surging Mississippi River was cresting in Iowa on Saturday as melting snow from Minnesota and Wisconsin continues to push up river levels, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service said the river was cresting between 23 and 24.3 feet (7 and 7.4 meters) in Dubuque, a city on the Mississippi about 200 miles (320 kilometers) east of Des Moines. The river was expected to crest at 21.9 feet (6.7 meters) in Bellevue, Iowa, on Saturday night.
The river is not expected to see many record crests in the next week, but the weather service said Saturday's levels would come close to 1993 and 2001 records between 23.9 and 25.4 feet (7.3 and 7.7 meters) as the river moves down its 2,300-mile (3,700-kilometer) length before reaching the Gulf of Mexico.
Dubuque has closed its floodgates for only the third time ever in response to flooding. Further south in the Quad Cities — five adjoining cities along the river in Iowa and Illinois — the river is expected to crest at 21.6 feet (6.6 meters) Monday. Some roads and parks near the river are closed.
Officials in towns along the river have said they are optimistic they will escape severe flooding this year, thanks to improved floodwalls and other prevention measures.
Despite some flooding in Wisconsin earlier in the week, the weather service said states farther south could be spared major flooding damage because tributaries in Iowa, Illinois and other states are running lower than usual, providing paths for runoff from the Mississippi.