Crews from the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) have been busy preparing for the floodwaters of a quickly rising Mississippi River, with park closures, parking restrictions, street closures, and detours set to be implemented starting Tuesday.
DPW had recently completed “exercising” Floodgate #1 and Floodgate #2 during the past two months. The exercise also served as a training experience for a DPW staff where most had not been through a flood before working for the City of Muscatine.
“We were fortunate to be able to conduct the two training exercises since most of the staff is new and has not experienced working a flood,” Tyson Wedekind, Street Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Muscatine.
The last major flood for Muscatine came in 2019 when the river rose to the third highest crest in Muscatine history at 24.52 feet on June 2, 2019. The 2019 flood lasted 99 days with the river cresting four times before finally going back to within its banks. The record crest was set on July 9, 1993, at 25.61-feet. The levee height is 27-feet.
“We will be walking the levee 24 hours a day starting Sunday to look for trouble spots,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said. “We will also begin pumping water back over the levee this week, particularly at Musser Park.”
DPW crews have been staging for this event the past several weeks.
Stineman and his DPW staff met with local business leaders and other individuals Monday morning to lay out the City’s plan to fight the flood.
“We don’t know what the river will do but we will be ready to respond as needed to any situation,” Stineman said.
RIVER ROAD CLOSED
The first street closure went into effect Monday (April 24) when DPW closed River Road from Sherman Street to Cannon Avenue.
NWS RIVER FORECAST
The National Weather Service (NWS) Hydrologic Service Muscatine Station at Muscatine indicated that the river was at 18.37 feet as of 1 p.m. Monday. Moderate flood state is 18-feet. The river is expected to rise nearly a foot a day for the next week with a forecasted crest of 23-feet between May 3 and May 5.
The river is forecasted to cross into Major Flood at 20-feet by noon on Wednesday and 21-feet by noon on Thursday. Current forecast is for the river to level out at 22-feet-5-inches over the weekend but a higher crest could occur during the first week of May.
RIVERSIDE PARK CLOSED TUESDAY
Portions of the parking area of Riverside Park have already been closed to traffic as the river rose about 18-feet. DPW will be closing Riverside Park to all traffic starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday as the river surpasses 19-feet.
RUNNING RIVER TRAIL CLOSED TUESDAY
Also closed starting Tuesday will be the Running River Trail from Musser Park to the Sherman Street intersection on River Road. The trail sits on top of the Muscatine Levee from Musser Park to Riverside Park, and follows the river through Riverside Park and along River Road to Weed Park.
PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON MISSISSIPPI DRIVE
Parking will not be permitted on Mississippi Drive from Iowa Avenue to Cedar Street starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Through the combined efforts of the City of Muscatine, Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and downtown businesses, a Hesco barrier will be installed Tuesday from Iowa to Cedar, which is the low point on Mississippi.
The westbound lane of Mississippi Drive will be closed to traffic from Cedar to Iowa as the sand-filled protective barrier is installed on the sidewalk and across the Sycamore Street intersection. In addition, Sycamore Street will be closed just north of the intersection with access maintained to the City of Muscatine parking lot as long as the river cooperates.
Mississippi Drive will be temporarily reopened to traffic after the barrier is installed.
EMPTY SANDBAGS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC
The City of Muscatine will provide empty sandbags to residents of Muscatine upon request. It will be the responsibility of residents / business owners to obtain their own sand and fill the sandbags. Empty sandbags can be picked up at the Public Works Department, 1459 Washington Street, between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
STREET CLOSURES AND DETOURS
- Mississippi Drive will be closed from the Mulberry Roundabout to Iowa Avenue once floodwaters have covered the Walnut and Sycamore intersections. This is anticipated for Wednesday or once the river surpasses 19-feet-6-inches.
- Flood closure detour route: eastbound Mississippi Drive traffic will be detoured at Iowa Avenue to 5th Street, to Cypress Street, to Washington Street, and then to Park Avenue. Westbound traffic will be detoured to Park Avenue, to Washington Street, to Cypress Street, to 5th Street, to Iowa Avenue, and back to Mississippi Drive. A temporary stop sign will be in place at the 5th and Oak intersection. DETOUR MAP
- If river level reaches 23-feet-6-inches water begins backing up onto Washington Street between Filmore and Walter streets. Washington Street closed and the detour altered.
FLOODGATES AND PANEL CLOSINGS
- Floodgate #1 (Mississippi Drive and Mulberry) will be closed on Wednesday.
- Floodgate #2 (2nd Street at Mad Creek) will be closed on Thursday.
- Flood panels to protect historic homes at the intersection of Mississippi Drive and Mulberry Avenue will be installed on Friday.
- DPW staff will begin walking Muscatine Levee on Sunday to check for any problems.
PRECAUTIONARY / PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS
- Caution is urged when walking near riverbanks.
- Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.
- Motorists should not attempt to drive around barricades or drive cars through flooded areas.
- Additional information is available at www.weather.gov/quadcities.
Gov. Reynolds Issues Disaster Proclamation for Mississippi River Counties
DES MOINES – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation today (April 24) for 10 counties in response to flooding along the Mississippi River. The governor’s proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of flooding in Allamakee, Clayton, Clinton, Des Moines, Dubuque, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Muscatine, and Scott counties.
Also today, Gov. Reynolds instructed the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) to activate the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston in order to coordinate the state’s response activities. HSEMD is working with county emergency management, state, and federal partners to monitor conditions and provide resources to those areas impacted by flooding.
Iowans who live along the Mississippi River are urged to prepare for possible flooding by having a plan to evacuate if necessary, packing an emergency kit with supplies for several days, staying informed about flood forecasts for their communities, and following information and guidance issued by local officials.
For more information about flood safety and preparedness, visit ready.iowa.gov/floods.
A copy of the proclamation can be found here.