CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/Fox28) — Following several weeks of messaging the risk for major flooding along the Mississippi River, the forecasts are now showing rises moving in that direction by early April.
In early March the Mississippi River in Dubuque was given the greater than 95 percent chance of reaching major flood stage. The latest forecast now has the river cresting at 21.9 feet April 4, and the river will likely continue to rise higher than that with more snow melt working its way downstream.
The peak flooding along the river was expected to be April 8-18, and that continues to remain on track. This flooding is driven by the immense snowpack in the Upper Midwest undergoing rapid melting. There were large swaths of 5-6" of water locked up in that snow. In the last seven days, a large portion of this has melted across Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and it's now heading down the Mississippi River.
A wetter-than-normal spring is currently forecast across the region by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and this could lead to 'unprecedented' flooding with the combination of spring rains and the snow melt.
The latest forecast from the Climate Prediction Center is calling for above-normal rainfall in the Midwest in early to mid-April, right when the river may crest. This will need to be monitored very closely in the coming weeks.
The models are currently forecasting one system arriving late Thursday, April 4, and another just a few days later. The exact track and how much moisture these storms will bring will determine the exact impacts.
Flood warnings continue to the Mississippi River until further notice. The river will likely remain elevated through the month of April.