Mississippi River’s all-time record in jeopardy with worst-case rain scenario

Several inches of rain are in the forecast for the Quad Cities this week. Weather models are averaging more than three inches for the metro area. But rain does not fall uniformly across a particular area so it's conceivable that some places could see up to six inches of rain, locally by Thursday.


In that worst-case scenario, we have to consider what happens to the Mississippi River and how quickly that water enters the waterway. The key is whether the heaviest rain falls over the Quad Cities or points upstream. That would mean that river forecasts will be higher. If the heaviest rain is centered south, it would bring the worst flooding situation for Southeastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

This Spring rain is falling on a river basin that is over-filled due to extreme snowfall that came this Winter (and even just north of the Quad Cities this last weekend) so it's a product of two different seasons.

Bottom line is we are going to put a lot more water into the river.

Here's where we are this morning. 20.57 feet puts us at the 8th highest level we've ever seen. With more rain, that level is going to rise a foot or more. If we achieve 22.60 feet, it will be higher than the Great Flood of 1993.

It will dry out Friday and the weekend looks good…if we can work around some scattered Sunday storms. But keep in mind, we're in our rainy season so this flood will probably be around into June.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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