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While still recovering from one of its worst winters in history, Muscatine now faces the consequences of that winter weather with the Mississippi River on the rise. A flood warning went in effect for Muscatine last week and others will surely follow.
Brian Stineman, Director of the Department of Public Works, said that the levees passed inspection and can handle the rising waters. “The forecast is for major flooding this spring,” Stineman said. “It wasn’t that long ago that we were pushing snow and spreading salt and sand. Now we are busy preparing and positioning assets for the forecasted flooding events.”
The flood stage occurs in Muscatine at sixteen feet with moderate flooding happening at eighteen feet and major flooding at twenty feet.
The reconstruction of Mississippi Drive accomplished one of the primary goals for the project, raising the roadbed so the street would remain open longer during seasonal floods. The street received its first test last October when the river crested at 20.65 feet. Before the reconstruction, flood waters would seep out of the Mississippi Drive and Walnut Street storm inlet at 18.2 feet and cover the street by 19.5 feet. Observations from last October found that the seepage out of the storm inlet did not begin until 19.2 feet and the road did not become covered until closer to twenty feet.
The first flood of 2019 comes on the heels of the second Spring Flood and Water Resources Outlook released by the National Weather Service office in Davenport last week. That report indicates that there is a twenty-five to fifty percent chance of record flooding during the last three weeks of April. A record crest of 25.61 feet occurred on July 9th, 1993 in Muscatine.
The report states that the potential for widespread flooding remains high this spring with soils nearly saturated and frozen; increased snow packs across northern Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; and an active weather pattern that shows signs of bringing warmer temperatures, increased rainfall, and the potential for additional heavy snow across the northern parts of the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

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