Mississippi River at McGregor near flood stage crest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mississippi River at McGregor near flood stage crest

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McGREGOR (KWWL) -

The waters of the mighty Mississippi are steadily rising.  In McGregor, the river is expected to crest Monday.  But the community's proactive approach may be averting major flooding.

The Mississippi's waters in McGregor have been slowly getting higher for several days now.  A restaurant and motel have been forced to close as both facilities have taken on water.  People from across the region have been coming to the small community to get an up close look at the flooding.

"It's mother nature, you know. You can't control that," said Andrea Kime.

Kime's family has a river cabin on the Mississippi, and they are just hoping that the protective measures they've already taken will keep flood waters at bay.

"Ten years ago we did some changes and increased the height of our cabin area so I think that was a good idea," Kime said.

One example of the flooding, Riverfront Park normally sits near the water not under it.  When the Mississippi isn't flooding, the shore line would be 20 to 30 feet away from where it is currently.

Nearby business owners have been anxiously watching mother nature take its course.  The river hasn't risen this high in a decade.

"One other time, 2001, it came right up into our first step and came up that close. But this was almost three feet lower so we knew it was going to be alright," said Pat Eckhardt, who owns the American House Inn in McGregor.

Eckhardt credits the city's proactive approach for preventing the flood from becoming much worse.  Weeks ago, sandbags were being filled up, many by volunteers and dozens of middle school students.

"We filled over 6,000 sandbags from the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade of MFL-Marmac community school," said MFL-Marmac student John Paul.

And once the waters started to come up, many of those sandbags were put in place along the berm.  A pump has also been pulling water away from downtown businesses.  So the community is optimistic that major flooding, and the damage that could come with it, have been averted.

After the crest happens Monday, folks in McGregor do expect to see the river levels slowly drop. The only thing that could spell more trouble is that rain is predicted much of this week, which could allow the river levels to rise again.

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