Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Heavy rainfall in Minnesota and Wisconsin is raising the water levels of the Mississippi River near its flood stage. For the first time in more than two years, the waters of the Mississippi River through La Crosse have climbed above ten feet.
National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Baumgardt says recent severe weather is causing elevated water levels.
“We’ve had a fairly active spring and a number of thunderstorm waves came through the area and that’s given Minnesota some rainfall. That’s typically where we see most of the water in the Mississippi coming through our area from,” said Baumgardt.
While the Mississippi is still a few feet below flood stage, some parts of the river are being impacted by the high water.
“The docks that we usually have in at this location are not in right now, the structures that we attach the docks to are submerged underwater,” said Baumgardt.
Katie Julian with the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge is recommending people stay off the river for the time being due to how difficult it is to navigate.
“The water is hard to read when it’s murky, so anytime we have big rain events where water is moving faster than usual along the river, it carries a lot more sediment and can also carry other forms of debris, trash, logs,” said Julian.
Julian says currents are also unpredictable right now as water continues to flow south from Minnesota.
The National Weather Service does not expect the Mississippi to hit its twelve-foot flood stage…if the weather cooperates.
“In general, we expect the river to kind of top out in the next week or so, and then start to slowly fall, but that fall rate will depend on how many thunderstorms waves we get through the area, and how much rain Minnesota will receive.”
Water levels of the Mississippi river were last observed at 10.5 feet on Tuesday afternoon. Before last week, water levels of the Mississippi River through La Crosse had not been higher than ten feet since April 2020.