River blankets East Dubuque neighborhood - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

River blankets East Dubuque neighborhood

Street signs pepper the Mississippi River flood water's surface in an East Dubuque, Ill. neighborhood Street signs pepper the Mississippi River flood water's surface in an East Dubuque, Ill. neighborhood

The Mississippi River crested early Wednesday morning at Dubuque's railroad bridge at a maximum height of 22.82 feet.

While that means the river level is on the decline, one East Dubuque, Ill. neighborhood is far from high and dry.

T.J.'s Bent Prop marina and bar and grill owner T.J. Freytag Jr. has had to close his establishment since late March, since the only way to access it is by boat.

"We were trying to count last night if this is our seventh or our eighth flood since we've owned the place," Freytag said, as he sped along the flooded neighborhood in his boat. "We've owned the Bent Prop since 2000."

On Wednesday, the water almost completely covered the building's first floor. Freytag knows to move any valuables to high ground.

"I don't know why FEMA doesn't buy us out," he said, "because after the amount of flood insurance over, not just us, but over all the years' time, they could've bought this place a couple times, probably."

That entire East Dubuque neighborhood is left to soak in the Mississippi River.

"We're going up Harbor Drive right now," Freytag said with an incredulous laugh, as the boat passed a half-submerged street sign at Harbor Drive and Basten Road.

He said a couple of families are sticking out the flood and commute by boat.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Mississippi River, Dubuque County is dealing with a closed county road and a handful of flooded homes.

The county's Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Berger said this was no flash flood.

"We've been talking about this for the last six to eight weeks, so we've been preparing for it and making sure everything's ready to go," Berger said.

"The initial snow melt crest is on its way through," National Weather Service hydrologist Maren Stoflet said. "Things will recede, but recede slowly because there still is a good amount of water to be making its way through."

As the water wanes, T.J.'s Bent Prop waits to dry out.

"We're out of business until the water recedes, obviously. We've been closed since the last week of March," Freytag said.

The flood, however, leaves no surprises in its wake.

"It's all pretty much the same stuff, just a different year," Freytag said.

Stoflet said the bulk of the snow melt up in Minnesota and Wisconsin is done, and while it can't completely rule out a second flood, the NWS said the worst is most likely over.

The crest will continue to work its way down river toward Burlington through the weekend.

Dubuque's record crest was 26.81 feet in 1965, before the city's flood wall was in place.

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