Mississippi River out of her banks again

The Mississippi River above flood stage last year. Photo by Jim Elias

The Mississippi River crested above flood stage for the sixth time in 2019 last week.

A crest at 18.80 feet may not have affected many area residents this time, the high waters all year long have wreaked havoc on area boating and outdoors enthusiasts.

“It’s been a terrible year all around,” said Jerry Purviance, of Jerry’s Outdoor Show. “From March through August 7th, the river has been inaccessible.  And now it’s flooding again.”

Purviance says boaters are hard pressed to put in anywhere along the river and he suggests people really shouldn’t because of all the debris floating in the flood waters.  He says fishermen can’t fish because of the high water and duck hunters are unable to get out to their blinds.

Even though the river may have crested, Purviance says the water will remain high for a while still. Plus, if it rains up river, that water eventually gets to us Muscatine.

“It’s tough going, so a lot of guys are done and they’re putting their boats away for the winter,” said Purviance.

In the City of Muscatine, the current round of flooding has primarily affected Riverside Park with half of the parking spaces now covered with flood water and the Riverview Center and Pearl City Station both inaccessible.

Five of the 2019 crests came during the record stretch of 99 consecutive days that the river was above flood stage (March 15-June 22) including the third highest crest in Muscatine history at 24.52 feet on June 2. After several months below flood stage, the river rose once again and has been in flood stage for the past 13 days, giving Muscatine 112 days above flood stage on the 289th day of the year.

The National Weather Service in Davenport projects the Mississippi River at Muscatine will continue to fall and be below moderate flood stage (18 feet) on Sunday. Depending on precipitation in the Upper Mississippi River Valley area, the Mississippi River should exit flood stage around October 26. Forecasted rainfall over the weekend should not affect river levels.