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The original item was published from 5/24/2019 2:14:13 PM to 6/8/2019 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: May 24, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Flood barriers going back up as river rises again

052019 A pelican and a sea gull

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The City of Muscatine will be closing Flood Structure #1 (at Mulberry) and Flood Structure #2 (at 2nd Street) starting at 7 a.m. Sunday (May 26) with the latest hydrograph from the National Weather Service anticipating a crest of 22.3 feet on Wednesday (May 29). Mississippi Drive will also be closed from the #1 alley on Mulberry to Iowa Avenue starting Sunday morning.

Forecast crests could change depending on the amount and location of rainfall over the weekend. The current prediction is that the river will stay in major flood stage through June 6 but crests higher than 22.3 feet are uncertain.

The National Weather Service anticipates three to five inches of rain to fall into the Upper Mississippi Valley watershed over the next four to five days. With soils already saturated, runoff from these rains will quickly find its way into the Mississippi River and tributaries.

At 19.5 feet flood waters will back out of the storm inlets onto Mississippi Drive at the Walnut Street intersection, and completely cover the intersection at 20 feet. The redesigned Sycamore Street intersection would stay dry longer but is also susceptible to runoff from heavy rain.

The fifth rise of the Mississippi River this spring brings an end to clean up efforts on the Muscatine riverfront as flood water will cover the parking lot at just over 20 feet, keeping Riverside Park closed at least through most of the first half of June.

Mississippi Drive and 2nd Street was opened to traffic Monday (May 20) but will be closed again after just six days.

After briefly dropping into minor flood stage (17.7 feet) early last week, the Mississippi River is back on the rise, and was in moderate flood stage at 18.45 feet Friday afternoon. Current projections (based on rainfall through Friday morning) has the river steadily rising to 22.3 feet by Wednesday. That is still two feet below the high crest of 24.33 feet that occurred on May 3.

Mississippi Drive was closed to traffic from Mulberry Avenue to Iowa Avenue on March 18 with the closure extended to Pine Street on April 30. The street was reopened from Pine to Iowa on May 13 and from Iowa to Mulberry on May 20, but will be closed again on Sunday from Mulberry to Iowa.

The Mississippi River has been above flood stage (16 feet) since March 16 and currently stands at 18.45 feet.  The river at Muscatine was above moderate flood stage for 61 consecutive days (March 16-May 16).

The Mississippi River dropped below major flood stage (20-feet) on May 11 bringing an end to a record 50 straight days of being above major flood stage. The river has been above flood stage (16-feet) for 68 consecutive days, also a Muscatine record.


The Muscatine County Emergency Management Agency encourages those affected by recent flooding in Muscatine County to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

There are four ways to register for disaster assistance:

Online at:

Visit a state/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Go online to to find the nearest location.

Call 800-621-3362, voice/VP/711. Multilingual operators are on duty. TTY 800-462-7585. Phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.

Download the FEMA app on your smartphone at

Information on Iowa’s flooding and disaster assistance can be found at


  • A wet fall followed by heavy snowfall this past winter in the Upper Mississippi River Valley contributed to the Spring Flood of 2019.
  • The Mississippi River has crested four times since March 15 when the river first exceeded minor flood stage (16-feet). The river rose and fell on four different occasions this spring due to snowmelt and rainfall, cresting at 19.34 feet March 18, 20.73 feet March 25, 21.95 feet April 10, and 24.33 feet May 3. After falling to 17.7 feet on May 18, the river level has risen to 18.45 feet on May 24.
  • In 2019, the Mississippi River has been above flood stage (16 feet) since March 15, a stretch of 70 days which breaks the previous record set during the 1993 flood of 55 days (June 10-August 4).
  • The 1993 flood actually had the top two stretches of consecutive days above flood stage (16 feet) separated by a three-week period below flood stage … 44 days (April 5 through May 19) and  55 days (June 10 through August 4).
  • In 2019, the Mississippi River was at or above moderate flood stage (18 feet) for 61 consecutive days (March 16-May 16), and 68 of the last 70 days.
  • In 2019, the Mississippi River at Muscatine was at or above major flood stage (20 feet) for 50 consecutive days (March 23-May 11). The old mark was 32 days set in 1993 (June 27 -July 28).
  • The 1993 flood had a total of 103 days above flood stage during a stretch of 121 days that lasted from April 5 through August 4.


  • The April 9 crest of 21. 95 feet was the seventh highest in Muscatine history and the third highest April flood crest. In 1965, following another wet fall and snowy winter, the Mississippi River crested at 24.81 feet on April 29, a level that held the record for the highest crest until the 1993 flood. The second highest April flood came in 2001 when the river crested at 23.50 feet on April 25, the sixth highest crest overall.
  • Six of the top 10 and 14 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 on July 9, 1993, two in June including the third highest crest at 24.42 feet on June 17, 2008, two in March, three in May including the fourth highest at 24.33 feet on May 3, 2019, and two in October including last year’s 20.73 foot crest on October 13, 2018.

Roads (Downtown Muscatine Detour Map)

  • Mississippi Drive will be closed May 26 between Mulberry Avenue and Iowa Avenue.
  • 2nd Street will be closed at Mad Creek.
  • Flood detours will be reinstated on May 26.
  • River Road is closed from Cannon Avenue to Sherman Street.


  • Riverside Park remains closed.
  • Running River Trail System is closed between Cannon Street and Sherman Street, and partially closed through Riverside Park.


  • The floodwall at Mulberry and Mississippi Drive (Structure #1) will be installed May 26.
  • The floodwall at 2nd Street and Mad Creek (Structure #2) will be moved into place on May 26.


  • No events have been impacted at this time.

Other Measures

Seep pumps have been set, and appropriate gates closed in various low-lying areas of the city.


The City of Muscatine will provide empty sandbags to residents of Muscatine upon request. It will be the responsibility of residents / business owners to obtain their own sand and fill the sandbags. Empty sandbags can be picked up 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Department of Public Works, 1459 Washington Street, Muscatine.

Additional Information

Iowa 2019 flooding

Severe Weather Awareness Week and links to local NWS websites

National Weather Service – Quad Cities

Levee Breach Study -

Press Release (PDF)
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