Forecast for flooding: biggest in two years?
Friday morning update – Heavy rain caused more flash flooding in Northeastern Iowa overnight. This water will contribute to major flooding along the Cedar River, cresting in Waterloo this weekend and early next week for Cedar Rapids.
Moderate flooding is still forecast for the Mississippi between Dubuque and Fulton by early next week, but a major flood is not currently anticipated. -Eric Sorensen
Original Post - If you live along the Mississippi River in an area prone to flooding, a heads up: the river is expected to rise every day for about a week! While a crest could occur in the Dubuque area by the middle of next week, here in the Quad Cities, it will take longer for the crest to occur. This won't happen all at once, instead we will see the water level rise just a little bit each day. By the end of next week, the level of the river is expected to be the highest in about two years. And it's too early to say how high it will go from there and when the crest will occur.
Back in the Summer of 2014, the Quad Cities saw its fifth highest crest of the Mississippi River. While a flood of that magnitude is not anticipated, there is a very small chance we could see something similar.
Quite simply, the weather pattern is similar. An intensely humid atmosphere has produced local 7 inch amounts of rain near La Crosse, Wisconsin in the past few days. And even though the beginning of Fall usually signifies the beginning of our dry pattern, more heavy rainfall is coming in the next few days. Parts of Northeast Iowa will see more than three inches of rainfall in the next 36 hours! We will get a break in this abnormally wet pattern early next week with a more progressive jet stream. That will cause weather systems to move faster from west to east...something we haven't seen in the Upper Midwest for a while.
Another thing to keep in mind, the bigger the size of the waterway, the slower it takes for the water level to rise and fall. For that reason, small creeks can see quick flash flooding while big rivers like the Mississippi see dramatic rises and falls over weeks' time.
If you've got a cabin near the river or live along its banks, use this weekend to get ready. Boaters should be on the lookout for more debris and faster currents as we go into the weekend.
-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen