Rain and More Rain!

Much of the central part of the country, along with the Lower Mississippi, is currently experiencing dangerous high water. See up to the minute status reports for American rivers by clicking on our INTERACTIVE FLOOD MAP. Black triangles indicate serious flooding.

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This map is interactive and constantly updated by the USGS.

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Flooding of 2019 Now Compared to 1993

I am beginning to relive some of the trauma of life along the Middle Mississippi Mississippi during 1993. Valmayer, Illinois, is back in the news as the community works desparately to fill 25,000 sandbags, and flooding at the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi near St. Louis has caused widespread flooding. During 1993, which closed down commercial shipping on the river for many months, I traveled the river frequently. ALWAYS it was stomach-wrenching!

The Flood of 2019 has now been ongoing some 82 days… since MARCH for folks in the Middle Mississippi. As we watch the current flood peaking in the next week, and hear about “levee boils” and breaks in the levees, it is worth noting that in 1993, the first dam did not burst until June 20th in Wisconsin. It was August 2 before the Mississippi crested at 49.7 feet in St. Louis. Today, rains still fall from Oklahoma to Louisiana, impacting both the Missouri and the Lower Mississippi Rivers. 2019 has been a record flood in terms of the time it has been affecting those who live along the Mississippi and its tributaries.

First a Chronology of the Flood of 1993, compiled by Pat Middleton, Greatriver.com  

1993 Mississippi Flood CHRONOLOGY

 March 10
The National Weather Service predicts below normal precipitation for the summer: “but above average rainfall could mean flooding, given soil saturation, spring snow depths, and normal spring rains.”
 June 10
The first 8” rainstorms begin in Dakotas, Wisconsin and Minnesota June 20The first dam bursts, submerging 100 homes to their rooftops on the Black River in Western Wisconsin. The upper 200 miles of the Mississippi River are closed to river traffic. Locks and Dams are not operating.
July 5
The bridge at Keokuk closes.
 July 10
The bridge closes at Fort Madison, Iowa, which has experienced rain for 54 of 58 days.  830 miles of Mississippi River are closed to boat traffic between Cairo, Illinois and St. Paul, Minnesota. Over 100 rivers feeding into the Mississippi River flood by July 14.  Unprecedented high-water on the Missouri River, Des Moines River, Illinois, Iowa, Skunk, Rock and Raccoon rivers (all tributaries of the Mississippi River) promote the massive flooding of the Mississippi River.
July 16
The last Quincy, Illinois, bridge is closed, leaving no bridge between Alton, Illinois and Burlington, Iowa. The Mississippi River is flooded to seven miles inland.
July 24
The Mississippi River at Quincy crests at a record 32 feet.
August 2
The Mississippi River crests at 49.7 feet in St. Louis, Missouri. Eleven times the volume of Niagara Falls is flowing under Eads Bridge; enough to fill Busch stadium every 65 seconds.
August 24
The Mississippi River locks reopen to commercial river traffic.
August 30
The Des Moines River floods again, after another 10 inches of rain falls.  The Mississippi River stays open.

 Sandbags and Stuff
 (Statistics collected from various regional newspaper sources.)
These stats offer a base for comparison as states come out for the Flood of 2019.

  • Estimated that two truckloads of sand (a little less than fifty tons) will fill 4000 sandbags.
  • More than 26.5 million sandbags were used in towns along the Mississippi River during the Flood of 1993
  • Approximately 927 million pounds of sand was used to fill those sandbags
  • Homeowners had to fill their own sandbags
  • In all, 150 primary and secondary levees failed during the summer.
  • 12 billion dollars in damages
  • 48 deaths
  • nine states involved
  • 1 inch of water on an acre of land equals 27,143 gallons.

 

 

Sandhills in the Valley, March 14, 2019

Every year the day arrives when I can say “spring has sprung in the valley,” Today was that day! 49 degrees. Sandhill cranes, redwing blackbirds, Canada geese, a pair of trumpeters, a turkey vulture, a Valley awash in snow melt.  While it seems late compared to recent arrival dates, a quick review of past Sandhill arrival dates shows that the cranes arrived right on schedule.

March 15, 2009  “Bitter cold night as late as 03/13/09. So cranes waited until we hit the 50 degree mark two days later.
March 12, 2008 “3 Sandhill cranes fly over Goose Island near La Crosse.
March 13, 2008  A Single crane flies, calling, over Coon Creek near Stoddard.   Lots of melting snow in the valley. Temp of 56.7 degrees. ”                           

March 11, 2007 “Sandhill Cranes on the islands off Goose Island Park south of La Crosse. Temps in upper 40s, two weeks after record snowfalls in Western Wisconsin, so lots of snow on the ground. March 12 the cranes are reported along Coon Creek and other valleys off the Upper Mississippi River.”                               

Feb 23, 2005  (a good two weeks earlier than normal!)
March 15, 2003
March 13, 2002
March 13, 2001
    March 16, 1999
March 1, 1998
March 10, 1997
March 13, 1996
March 18, 1993
April 4, 1992
March 9, 1988
March 17, 1987

 

 

Midwestern Flooding

Much of the central part of the country is currently experiencing dangerous flash floods. See up to the minute status reports for American rivers by clicking on our INTERACTIVE FLOOD LINK in the category list to the right.

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Current Interactive Flood Map

Below is the USGS interactive map that provides REAL TIME info on which Rivers in the US are cresting. The map below is accurate every day. Black Triangles indicate flood stage. Looking to compare stats with the Flood of 1993? CLICK HERE.

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See more interactive maps by clicking the category in the list to right: INTERACTIVE MAPS

Landslides, Floods are Frequent Threats in Bluff Lands along the Upper Mississippi River

© Pat Middleton… To see picture captions, hold your cursor over photos.

Recent landslides after rains of 9-11 inches have many of us reminiscing about past experiences of landslides, rockslides, and flooding along the Mississippi River. Below is my own memory from very similar flooding in 2007.

Enter FLOOD in the Search button to bring up an interactive map that shows flooding at any moment along America’s major waterways as well as stats and Chronologies from previous years..

August 20, 2007

“Mom, you missed the HUUUgest Storm!”
“Mom, you have to hear what’s happening. I’ll read it right from the newspaper!”

Continue reading

DAILY U.S.G.S. FLOOD ALERT MAP

arrow-clip-art-Arrow-clip-art-16CURRENT RIVER FLOOD ALERTS

Below is the USGS interactive map that provides REAL TIME info on which Rivers in the US are cresting. The map below is accurate every day. Black Triangles indicate flood stage. Looking to compare stats with the Flood of 1993? CLICK HERE.

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See more interactive maps by clicking the category in the list to right: INTERACTIVE MAPS

Flood impact is “noticeable” but not traumatic!!

OK, as happens almost every year, folks are starting to call about flood conditions along the Upper Mississippi River. Especially with 4th of July holiday around the bend! The image here shows Riverside Park in La Crosse, WI. Basically, the river is plum full and about to start climbing onto the sidewalk. (Thank you Laura Smanski!)

I heard from Davenport, IA, that, yes the riverside has water creeping in, but scheduled events have simply been moved to Higher Ground. Since many campsites along the upper Mississippi River can be impacted by high water, you might want to make a phone call. If sites are available, your reserved site might be moved slightly to higher ground.

riversidecroppedBoating of any type is more hazardous in high water. There is lots of debris, including whole trees, flowing by at a mighty quick pace. Canoes and kayaks are not recommended until the river is back to a 6′ stage, rather than the 13+- it is right now. Common Sense is King in high water. Highways, river towns, the Great River Road…not so much to worry about.