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Achieving the biggest flood in Quad City history depends on rain today

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for most of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois through Wednesday. Rainfall rates will exceed the ability for storm drains, creeks, and streams to effectively move the water, causing rapid rises during times of heavy rainfall.

Flash flooding kills more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined so please heed all warnings and never drive around a barricade or over a flooded road.

As of 5:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Mississippi River is at its sixth-highest level in the Quad Cities, about 14 inches below the all-time record, set July of 1993. It is expected the river will rise into the #5 spot this morning and into the #4 spot by tomorrow.

Keep in mind, the above flood forecast does not take into account any rain falling beyond the current day. For that reason, it's a good bet that river levels will go up anywhere from 3 to 10 inches. Typically, rivers don't crest until the rain is done. That won't take place until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.The reason we are seeing significant rain is unique. An broad area of low pressure across the Plains States will ignite strong and severe thunderstorms in Oklahoma and Texas. That's under a strong jet stream. We don't have that which means storms will be moving slower and the low pressure system has no way to really move out. If the low was under the jet out in Nebraska or the Dakotas, it would scoot up into Canada.

This pattern will be locked in place for a few more days, possibly coming back for next week.

The Bottom Line:

  1. Rain is likely today, tomorrow, and Thursday.
  2. 2-4 inches is a good bet for rainfall area-wide. Some places will see more. Some places could get less.
  3. Even if we didn't have rain in the forecast, the Mississippi River would still rise as tributaries add water to the river.
  4. Crests are expected by the weekend.
  5. Higher crests are possible as we remain in an active, rainy cycle.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

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