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NWS issues flood warning, river levels expected to rise

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:01 a.m. CDT

CLINTON (MCT) — National Weather Service observers have issued a flood warning for the Clinton area that is expected to last until Saturday.

Runoff from upstream rainfall is causing minor flooding on the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 13 and moderate flooding at the Camanche gauge station, both tentatively expecting to crest Thursday or Friday.

River forecasts include past precipitation and predicted rainfall for the next 24 hours including a series of showers and thunderstorms affecting much of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Monday’s levels measured at 15.7 feet and are holding steady until early today, when they are projected to begin rising.

“Once that rain falls up north it takes a while, usually a couple of days, to reach the main stem of the Mississippi. If we get moderate to heavy rainfall across the area and north then we’ll see a response,” Quad-Cities National Weather Service Hydrologist Maren Stoflet said. “We’ve had several rises along the river due to rainfall in the past couple of weeks. Some of that rainfall comes locally but much of it comes from up north on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border.”

By Thursday, readings at Lock and Dam 13 are predicted to reach just over floodstage at 16.1 feet, and at Camanche the NWS is calling for levels as high as 17.7 feet. While those levels are the reason for the flood warnings, they are only accurate for what is currently happening and can change in a short amount of time.

“Forecasts are really kind of capturing this point in time and some people will really lock into those readings,” Stoflet said. “The nature of the storms, where the rain falls, is really a driver in how those forecasts play out. How the timing and the effect that has on the river levels isn’t really known until it happens.”

The river is expected to fall back below floodstage on Saturday but could affect some low-lying properties prior to that decrease.

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