Flooded Mississippi River makes for dangerous boating conditions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flooded Mississippi River makes for dangerous boating conditions

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McGREGOR (KWWL) -

Businesses and boaters alike in the Mississippi River town of McGregor are ready for the river to return to more manageable levels.

Connie Miller and her husband dock their boat at the McGregor Marina, but they're not doing much boating these days, as the high river, fast current and debris make for dangerous conditions.

"The water doesn't always take you the way you think," Miller said. "The current might be heavy coming down, but once you get behind a dock or something, there's all kinds of eddies or behind some of these big branches - we've got a big branch now at the end of our dock, and I'm sure that's throwing the currents off, too. So you have to be very careful."

On Friday, the slowly-rising river covered some low-lying sidewalks and grass, as it hovered around 16.72 feet.

According to the National Weather Service, "minor" flood stage in McGregor is at 16 feet and "moderate" flood stage is at 19 feet. As of Friday evening, the NWS was predicting the Mississippi River will hit a high of 17.7 feet on Thursday and stay there for several days.

Area businesses say some boaters are scared away by the rough river conditions, which cuts into their bottom line.

Independent bird researcher Jon Stravers is on the river every day.

"It's really been high all spring," he said Friday, while pulling his boat out of the river. "It had just started to go down a few weeks ago and then - back up, so it's going to be up for awhile now, so big water."

He said he doesn't mind the high river, as it lets him navigate into channels his boat can't normally access, but he knows it's not good for others.

"It's kind of the run-of-the-mill now, is high water, which is hard on these businesses," Stravers said.

Dan Jones is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in La Crosse, Wis. He said the current storms in Minnesota likely won't impact the Mississippi quite as much as Minnesota's rain from last week did, since last week's rain was more widespread and the current storms, while intense, are more isolated.

Jones said Friday morning he doesn't anticipate the Mississippi River will crest in eastern Iowa until late next week.

The latest forecasts on Mississippi River levels throughout eastern Iowa are HERE: http://1.usa.gov/TqFGZ1

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