MUSCATINE, Iowa – The Mississippi River dropped below the 16 foot mark early Friday morning ending a stretch of 99 consecutive days of being above flood stage. How long the river stays within its banks remains to be seen as more rain is forecasted for the area and locations to the north.
The National Weather Service reported the Mississippi River was at 15.6 feet at its 6 a.m. reading Saturday (June 22) with the river forecasted to drop below 15 feet Sunday night and continue to recede. The river could rise slightly or level off for a few days depending on the amount and location of rainfall over the weekend. Flash flooding may be a concern with soils still saturated.
Riverside Park will remain closed to the public through the rest of the week but City officials are hopeful that cleanup operations can be completed and the park reopened by early next week.
The Department of Public Works has been working since Monday to clean the parking areas and Harbor Drive inside Riverside Park of the accumulated Mississippi River mud and debris. DPW used their own tanker truck and was assisted by the Muscatine Fire Department in hosing down the parking areas Wednesday and Thursday.
The Parks and Recreation Department has also been busy inside the park working on cleaning the Pearl View Station and the Riverview Center, and replacing mulch that was washed away from planting beds during the three months the park was under water. Reseeding and/or sodding of grassy areas damaged by the flood along with an extensive cleaning of the Mississippi Mist fountain will begin as soon as possible.
Over 100 volunteers from Kent Corporation were on hand Friday to help cleanup efforts inside the park.
After reaching the third highest crest in Muscatine history on June 2 (24.52 feet), the Mississippi River has dropped to 18.93 feet and is expected to fall below flood stage by Tuesday night. The June 2 crest was the second crest of 2019 to reach the historic top five following a 24.33 crest on May 3, 2019.
Mississippi Drive and 2nd Street were reopened to traffic on Friday, June 14. The two streets were closed twice for flooding in 2019, the first closure lasting 57 days (March 25-May 20) and the second for 18 days (May 28-June 14).
2019 FLOOD BY THE NUMBERS
- 99 consecutive days at or above flood stage (16 feet) - The Mississippi River was at or above flood stage from March 15 to June 21. The previous mark was 56 days (June 9-August 3) during the 1993 flood.
- 60 consecutive days at or above moderate flood stage (18 feet) – The Mississippi River was at or above moderate flood stage March 17 to May 16. The Mississippi River was at or above moderate flood stage for 88 of 90 days in 2019 (March 17-June 15).
- 20 consecutive days at or above major flood stage (20 feet). The Mississippi River was at or above major flood stage April 1 to April 20. The Mississippi River was at or above major flood stage for 59 of 82 days in 2019 (March 23-June 12) including eight consecutive days March /23-30, 20 consecutive days April 1-20, 15 consecutive days April 27-May 11, and 16 consecutive days May 28-June 12.
- 5 rises and 5 falls. The Mississippi River has risen and fallen five times since March 15 … cresting at 19.34 feet March 18, 20.73 feet March 25, 21.95 feet April 10, 24.33 feet May 3, and 24.52 feet on June 2.
- Mississippi Drive and 2nd Street closed by flood waters - The two major streets through Downtown Muscatine were closed twice in 2019 for flooding … the first closure lasted 57 days (March 25-May 20) and the second for 18 days (May 28-June 14). Detours were in place during these time periods.
1993 FLOOD BY THE NUMBERS
- 103 total days above flood stage –There were two major flood events in 1993 as the Mississippi River was at or above flood stage for 103 of 121 days (April 5-August 4).
- 56 consecutive days at or above flood stage (16 feet) – The Mississippi River was at or above flood stage for 56 consecutive days (June 9 to August 3).
- 45 consecutive days at or above flood stage (16 feet) – The Mississippi River was at or above flood stage for 45 consecutive days (April 5 to May 19).
- 36 consecutive days at or above moderate flood stage (18 feet) - The Mississippi River was at or above moderate flood stage for 36 consecutive days (June 25-July 30).
- 23 consecutive days at or above moderate flood stage (18 feet) – The Mississippi River was at or above moderate flood stage for 23 consecutive days (April 8-May 4).
- 32 consecutive days at or above major flood stage (20 feet) - The Mississippi River was at or above major flood stage for 32 consecutive days (June 27-July 28).
- 10 consecutive days at or above major flood stage (20 feet) - The Mississippi River was at or above major flood stage for 10 consecutive days (April 21-April 30).
MORE HIGH CRESTS DURING APRIL
- The April 9, 2019, crest of 21.95 feet was the eighth highest in Muscatine history and the third highest April crest.
- On April 29, 1965, the Mississippi River crested at 24.81 feet, a level that held the record for the highest crest until 1993.
- The second highest April flood came on April 25, 2001 when the river crested at 23.50 feet, the seventh highest crest overall.
- Five of the top 10 and 13 of the top 25 Mississippi River crests have occurred during the month of April.
- Also in the top 25 were three in July including the record 25.61 foot crest (July 9, 1993), three in May including the fifth highest at 24.33 feet (May 3, 2019), two in June including the third highest crest at 24.52 feet (June 2, 2019), two in March, and two in October including last year’s 20.73 foot crest (October 13, 2018).
Information on Iowa’s flooding and disaster assistance www.floods.2019.iowa.gov
Flood Safety Tips and Resources https://www.weather.gov/safety/flood
Severe Weather Awareness Week and links to local NWS websites www.beready.iowa.gov
National Weather Service – Quad Cities www.weather.gov/dvn/
Levee Breach Study - http://www.muscatineiowa.gov/745/Levee-Breach-Study