Mississippi River flooding may come soon - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mississippi River flooding may come soon

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MARQUETTE (KWWL) -- Volunteers helped fill sandbags Saturday in anticipation of rising river levels.

While the river stage at McGregor, just down river from Marquette, was slightly less than 10 feet on Saturday (with flood stage at 16 feet), volunteers said they don't want to be caught unprepared.

Despite the serious threat of flooding, the mood was light Saturday as heavy sandbags piled up.

"We're getting a jumpstart by getting our sandbags filled," Marquette mayor Norma Mason said.

20,000 sandbags is the goal, which may take a session or two more to fulfill.

"Every step of the way, as it comes up, we want to be, like, a foot ahead of it," Mason said, "so when it's 15 foot, we want done for 16 foot, so we can just keep going through that."

She said the city has been coordinating with neighboring community McGregor, plus the Army Corps of Engineers and Clayton County EMS.

"Oh, it's fun," said cheerful sandbagger Dave Schneider, wiping his brow. "We remember 2001, when we had the flooding, and anything we can do to help prevent it, we want to do it. It's the spirit of the community. Everybody pitches in to help out and get stuff done."

Marquette and McGregor community members remember 1965, when the Mississippi River hit a record 25.38 feet. That was before Marquette built the dikes, which happened several years after the record flood.

Still, 2001 saw the second highest river crest, at more than 23 feet.

"We have a lot of experienced people that have had flooding, so we will keep going on," Mayor Mason said. "We've had floods before, and we'll have them again."

"You know, let's just hope we don't get the big stuff," Schneider said.

The NWS predicts the Marquette-McGregor area will see the Mississippi River at its 16-foot flood stage by Saturday, March 26.

The NWS said there's at least a 50 percent chance the river will hit major flood stage (at least 22 feet) some time in April. That would be only the third time in recorded history the river at McGregor has been that high.

To keep tabs of the Mississippi River at McGregor on the National Weather Service Website, click HERE or see the link on the left of this page.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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