MUSCATINE, Iowa – The levee system in Muscatine is secure. That is the message from the City of Muscatine after reports surfaced this afternoon that a levee break had occurred in the Musser Park area.
“We are walking the levee 24 hours a day at the present time and we have found no problems up and down the system,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said.
Reports of individuals knocking on doors in the south end of Muscatine telling people to evacuate due to a levee break were received by the City of Muscatine and through the Muscatine Joint Communications Center (MUSCOM).
Staff from the Department of Public Works (DPW) walk and inspect the levee system on a 24-hour basis once the river level reaches 22 feet. While the City has deployed pumps to move seepage back over the levee into the Mississippi River in two locations including Musser Park, no breaks have been found and the levee system is secure.
The City did "exercise" the railroad flood gate at Broadway earlier this afternoon to ensure its proper function should it be needed. That gate would be closed if the river level reached 25- to 26-feet.
“An evacuation order would come from the City of Muscatine through the emergency notification system,” Kevin Jenison, Communications Manager, said. “And we would have staff from the Muscatine Fire Department, Muscatine Police Department, and the Department of Public Works out in the area affected to help with the evacuation. At the present time there are no plans for an evacuation.”
While no evacuation is planned it is always a good idea for residents in low lying areas to have an action plan in case the situation changes.
“Being ready for any natural disaster is a good idea,” Jenison said.
A Levee Breach Study was undertaken several years ago with the results available on the Public Works page of the City of Muscatine website. That study reveals what would happen if a breach occurred at one of three different spots of the levee.
“It is a good resource for individuals, families, and businesses to review and understand just how quickly things can change and the importance of being ready to evacuate if the need occurs,” Jenison said.
SPRING 2019 FLOOD RECAP
The Mississippi River has been above flood stage (16-feet) since March 15 and above major flood stage (20-feet) since March 22. Muscatine has now had 46 consecutive days above flood stage in 2019. The record for consecutive days above flood stage is 55 set in 1993 (June 10-August 3). The Great Flood of 1993 had 103 days above flood stage during a stretch of 121 days that lasted from April 5 through August 4.
The top five flood crests were: (1) 25.61 feet on July 9, 1993; (2) 24.81 feet on April 29, 1965; (3) 24.42 feet on June 17, 2008; (4) 23.81 feet on July 5, 2014; and, (5) 23.50 feet on April 25, 2001.
Muscatine is currently at 22.97 feet (6:15 p.m. on April 30, 2019) with a forecasted crest of 24.3 feet Thursday, May 2.The current forecast calls for the river to remain above 22 feet until Monday, May 6, unless more rain falls north of the Muscatine area.