Mississippi River is at record level — and rising - News Coverage

Mississippi River is at record level — and rising

DES MOINES, Iowa – Amid historic flooding in July 1993, the Mississippi River near Davenport rose to its highest level ever: 22.63 feet.

That record is no more.

The river hit 22.64 feet shortly before noon Thursday, the National Weather Service reported, and the water continues to rise.

The river is expected to reach 22.7 feet by Friday, the weather service said. Even with a dry weekend, it’s not projected to fall below 22 feet until late Sunday.

Also on Thursday, authorities said they had begun pushing sewage back into rivers. The wastewater plant in Davenport has reached capacity, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources signed off on the sewage diversion to prevent backups in surrounding cities, according to Scott County Emergency Management.

“Officials are trying to find other relief mechanisms and will employ them as soon as possible,” the agency said in a news release.

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Until then, residents are being encouraged to stay out of and away from the possibly contaminated water.

Several blocks of Davenport remain inundated with flood water after a HESCO barrier breached on Tuesday afternoon. Businesses and residents had little warning before the water rushed into downtown streets and buildings.

Access to those buildings remained mostly by boat Thursday. The city’s public works director has said vehicles, basements and ground floors will mostly remain submerged until the river recedes. 

Thunderstorms brought more rain Thursday morning, causing run-off to worsen the situation. The extra rain is adding pressure to local infrastructure, officials said Thursday.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is scheduled to meet with Quad Cities government officials and tour flood damage Friday. Her disaster proclamation Wednesday for Clinton County means that 61 of Iowa’s 99 counties now have been designated as disaster areas by state or federal officials, making money and other resources available for recovery in those counties.

Unusually high snowmelt and untimely heavy rainfall have been culprits for widespread flooding this spring in Iowa, particularly on the western and now eastern edges of the state.

Dry weather is forecast for the Quad Cities area Friday and Saturday, but more showers are possible early next week.

An emergency operation center opened Tuesday and will remain for the foreseeable future. Local officials and volunteers are coordinating with health experts and the U.S. Coast Guard, among other agencies, said David Donovan, the county emergency management coordinator.

 

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