DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
With spring less than 10 days away, people are focusing on everything from gardening to flooding, and the National Weather Service recently released its Spring Flood Outlooks.
Northeast Iowa cities along the Mississippi river have anywhere from a 20 to 60 percent chance of seeing "moderate" flooding. Those cities include Lansing, McGregor, Guttenberg and Dubuque. However, the National Weather Service says there's a less-than-20 percent chance any of those cities will see "major" flood levels.
The National Weather Service says if the snow north of Iowa melts too quickly, it can increase the risks for flooding along rivers in eastern Iowa. Any heavy rainfall can have that same effect.
Jim Piper is lockmaster at Lock and Dam 11 in Dubuque. He said before he starts thinking too much about flooding, he still has some 20 inches of ice on the river, above the lock.
Monday morning, a crew at Lock and Dam 11 took advantage of the warm weather and shoveled snow and ice away from the lock gate's recesses, in order to ensure the lock gates will open once the ice thins out.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to doing what we do: lock boats," Piper said, adding he's ready to "get rid of all this ice and snow and look forward to a great season."
He said Dubuque may start seeing barge traffic again by early April, if not a little before then.
Monday's warmer temperatures brought some relief to the many Iowans suffering from cabin fever, following a long, harsh winter. Tonya Grawe and her mom Lynda Slowey were out walking along the riverfront, near Lock and Dam 11, enjoying the day's beautiful weather.
"Just dodging quite a few puddles, but we don't mind that," Grawe said with a smile. "It's worth it, totally!"
This beautiful weather means Grawe has gardening on the brain.
"I can't wait to get into the yard and get flower gardening," she said. "I know that'll be a ways off, just have to get the yard dried out and everything like that, but just getting everything around the house cleaned up and looking like spring: colorful."
She's not alone in her yearning for greener days. Over at Steve's Ace Home and Garden in Dubuque, seeds are a hot item right now, store manager Luke Abbitt said.
"You have the seeds, you have the plants, of course, the peat pots to get your gardens going, the fertilizers and things like that," Abbitt listed. "People are very excited to get out into the yard and just start working in there, getting the fertilizers down and getting the crab grass held off."
He said frost can remain a threat through mid-May, so now's the time many gardeners are fostering seedlings indoors, just waiting for all the snow to melt.
He also said now is the best time for people to bring in their lawnmowers for repairs, before the service department gets a lot busier in warmer weather.
For more on specific points of flooding along rivers in Iowa, check out the National Weather Service predictions via this interactive map HERE.
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