NOAA News || NOAA Home Page || Previous Story


NOAA aerial image of Hastings, Minn., flooding on April 19, 2001April 20, 2001 — A powerful storm system, packing severe weather, including heavy rains, is taking aim at the vulnerable Midwest region and will trigger more flooding this weekend along the Mississippi River, according to the latest forecast from NOAA's National Weather Service. (Click NOAA image for larger view of flooding in Hastings, Minn., April 19, 2001. Click here to view more dramatic NOAA aerial photos. Please credit "NOAA.)

Forecasters said there is a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms across eastern Nebraska, Iowa, and northern portions of Missouri beginning Friday night. The storm will continue to move eastward, impacting the Great Lakes region and much of the Ohio River Valley on Saturday and New England by Sunday.

"Most locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin saw the flood crest on the Mississippi River pass Wednesday and Thursday, but they are expected to remain above flood stage through the weekend," said Noreen Schwein, assistant chief of hydrologic services at Weather Service Central Region headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.

"The river crested Thursday at Lake City, Minn., and La Crosse, Wis., and we expect to see a continued slow fall in those locations," Schwein said, adding that the flood crest expected Friday in Guttenberg, Iowa, will continue to move downstream over the coming weeks.

The Mississippi River will slowly return to normal, according to flood forecasts issued by NWS forecast offices in La Crosse, Wis., Davenport, Iowa, and St. Louis, Mo.

The La Crosse river forecast shows the Mississippi crested at 19.61 feet Thursday morning at Lake City, Minn., where flood stage is 16 feet. The river also crested Thursday morning at La Crosse, where it reached 16.26 feet (flood stage 12 feet) and is expected to continue to fall slowly. A crest of 21.7 feet is expected Friday night at Guttenberg, Iowa, where flood stage is 15 feet.

According to the river forecast issued by the NWS' Quad Cities office in Davenport; at 24.6 feet, the Mississippi was causing major flooding Friday in Dubuque, Iowa (flood stage 17 feet) and is expected to crest there around 25 feet Friday night. The 1965 record crest was 26.81 feet. The gauge reading at Quad Cities Dam 15 showed a Friday level of 19.4 feet with a 22-22.5-foot crest expected April 24. The record crest at the dam 15 was 22.63 feet recorded in 1993.

With flood stage at 15 feet, Burlington, Iowa, recorded 18.7 feet on Friday, with an April 25 crest expected to be 20.5-21.5 feet—well below the record crest of 25.1 feet recorded in 1993. The river is experiencing major flooding from Dubuque to Burlington. With a reading of 16.9 feet (flood stage 16 feet), Keokuk Dam 19 was experiencing minor flooding with a crest of 20-21 feet expected April 26. Set in 1992, the record crest there is 27.58 feet.

The St. Louis Weather Forecast Office was showing moderate flooding at Quincy, Ill, Friday morning, with the Mississippi at 19.9 feet (flood stage 17 feet). The river is expected to crest in Quincy at 24 feet on April 28. Major flooding begins in Quincy when the river reaches 22 feet. There was also moderate flooding in Hannibal, Mo., Friday with the river at 19.8 feet (flood stage 16 feet). A crest of 24 feet is expected in Hannibal on April 28. Minor flooding is being experienced in Grafton, Ill.—with the Mississippi at 19.7 feet Friday morning (flood stage 18 feet). A crest of 23.5-24.5 feet is expected in Grafton around April 30.

The Mississippi was below flood stage in St. Louis Friday, with a reading of 24.1 feet. Flood stage is 30 feet. The river is expected to crest in St. Louis below flood stage at about 28 feet around May 1. At 26 feet, the Mississippi in Chester, Ill., was a foot below flood stage and expected to crest at about 29 feet around May 1.

"Obviously, we're looking at a flood situation remaining for the next two to three weeks," Schwein said. "One concern we have is that people may become somewhat complacent if the river levels stay so high for that long. I want to repeat the caution to stay away from flood water. Don't try to drive in it and don't let children play in it. Especially at night, flood waters can hide many dangers. Turn around and find an alternate route. It's just not worth the risk."

River forecasts are based on current conditions and precipitation forecasts over the next one to two days. Additional rainfall may cause levels to be higher than forecast.

Relevant Web Sites
See NOAA aerial photos of flooded areas. Please credit "NOAA."

Updated information on the flood and weather forecasts for the affected areas may be found on the following NOAA Web sites for the respective weather service forecast offices.

Davenport, Iowa, and vicinity

Minneapolis, Minn.

La Crosse, Wis.

St. Louis, Missouri

NOAA's National Weather Service Central Region, with links to 38 forecast offices

NOAA's Hydrologic Information Center

River Conditions from NOAA's Hydrologic Information Center — includes national graphic

NOAA's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services

NOAA's Flooding Page

NOAA's River Forecast Centers

NOAA Flood Satellite Images

Media Contacts:
Patrick Slattery, NOAA's National Weather Service Central Region, (816) 426-7621, ext. 621 or John Leslie, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622