Mississippi River Water Levels Rise, Causing Moderate Flooding

Levels Should Begin To Recede Over Next Few Weeks, Assuming There's Little-To-No Rainfall

Above, water levels creep up to the shoreline in Riverside Park in La Crosse. Photo: Maureen McCollum/WPR News.

Officials are keeping a close eye on the Mississippi River, as its levels hover at a moderate flood stage in La Crosse and Winona.

At Riverside Park in downtown La Crosse, the water has crept towards the shoreline. Although it’s close, it’s not high enough to flood the park, where volunteers are setting up this weekend’s Riverfest celebration.

Directly across the river, Pettibone Park is almost completely underwater.

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La Crosse’s National Weather Service hydrologist Mike Welvaert said that similar scenarios are happening along much of the Mississippi River where there are flood warnings. He said some areas are underwater that normally aren’t, but the high water is not affecting people or infrastructure at this point.

“Looks like the Mississippi has finally reached its peak, said Welvaert. If we could turn the water faucet off a little bit now and stop adding more water to the system, perhaps the river will start going down here. But it’s going to linger at this level at the next couple days and it’s going to really slowly recede over the next week or two.”

No-wake zones are in effect along parts of the river, and boaters are urged to look out for debris.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed Mississippi River locks in the Twin Cities area and along the Iowa and Illinois borders. A spokesman says more locks are expected to close.

Adam Binsfeld, the operations manager at Brennan Marine in La Crosse, said the closures halt the company’s barge shipments.

“It backs everything up, said Binsfeld. We have barges with grain loads sitting in La Crosse waiting to head south that can’t because of the backup.”

Binsfeld said the high waters have also put a few of the company’s river construction projects on hold.