Tags: Mississippi | Threatens | Near-Record | Flooding

Mississippi Threatens Near-Record Flooding

Tuesday, 17 April 2001 12:00 AM

The U.S. Coast Guard closed a 403-mile stretch of the bloated waterway to boat and barge traffic from the Twin Cities south to Muscatine, Iowa. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack declared 10 counties bordering the rising Mississippi disaster areas because of anticipated flooding.

The advance disaster declaration made Clayton, Allamakee, Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine and Scott counties eligible for state aid to fight the floodwaters. Preparations already were under way as far south as Rock Island, Ill., where the river is expected to crest next week about 7 feet above flood stage.

"We expect near-record to record crests next week…exceeding the levels of 1997 and 1993 in the Quad Cities," said National Weather Service hydrologist Jeff Zogg. He said the Mississippi would reach between 20 and 22 feet at Davenport, Iowa, next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rivers and streams were already causing moderate flooding in northwest Iowa ahead of the crest.

"The river is expected to crest at 22 feet at Dubuque Lock and Dam on April 22. Flood stage is 21 feet," said David Sheets, a National Weather Service in Davenport.

Gov. Scott McCallum toured western Wisconsin by helicopter Monday and declared a state of emergency in nine countries battling floodwaters. Officials were prepared for possible evacuations. So far none had been ordered, and shelters were virtually empty.

The Mississippi reached 16 feet at La Crosse Monday night and was expected to crest at nearly a foot higher today - the second-highest crest at La Crosse. Floodwaters closed roads and covered railroad tracks in St. Croix, Pierce, Pepin, Buffalo, Trempealeau, La Crosse, Vernon, Crawford and Grant counties.

Passengers on Amtrak's Empire Builder had to be bused to Minneapolis after floodwaters covered the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe railroad tracks north of Alma. Passenger and freight trains were being rerouted.

Rock County officials declared a slow, no-wake area on the Rock River in Fulton Township because of runoff from melting snow and last week's rains and high water closed the bridge between Nelson, Wis., and Wabasha, Minn.

Sandbagging and pumping operations continued in St. Paul, Minn., where a crest of 23.5 feet was predicted later this week, the third-highest river level after floods in 1965 and 1969. The Minnesota River was expected to crest about the same time, and water could remain high for weeks.

Authorities called off a search for a 19-year-old Eden Prairie, Minn., man who was swept away by the fast-moving Minnesota River Sunday after his car stalled on a closed state highway at Shakopee. The teen tried to drive around barricades.

National Guard troops and volunteers continued to patrol dikes and levees protecting communities on both sides of the Red River dividing Minnesota and North and South Dakota.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The U.S. Coast Guard closed a 403-mile stretch of the bloated waterway to boat and barge traffic from the Twin Cities south to Muscatine, Iowa. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack declared 10 counties bordering the rising Mississippi disaster areas because of anticipated flooding. The...
Mississippi,Threatens,Near-Record,Flooding
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2001-00-17
Tuesday, 17 April 2001 12:00 AM
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