Not as high as forecasted, but high enough to rank fourth all-time ...

As predicted by the National Weather Service, water levels on the Mississippi River at the Lansing gauge reached their spring flooding crest Friday, April 28. However, the crest the Service forecasted of 20 feet that would have reached major flood stage and ranked second all-time behind the April 1965 record of 22.5 feet was, fortunately, off by about half a foot, ending up at 19.61 feet in Friday’s early morning hours. That crest is actually the fourth highest recorded by the National Weather Service at that Lansing measuring gauge, also behind the river’s most recent highest crest of 19.93 feet in April of 2001 and the earliest highest crest recorded of 19.90 feet in June of 1880.

At its highest crest in 22 years, the Mighty Mississippi found its way into riverside communities in Allamakee County from New Albin, Lansing and Harpers Ferry on down to the Marquette and McGregor area that reached its third highest flooding crest ever recorded of 22.91 feet Friday as well, nearly a full foot above major flood stage there, from where it has since receded below that river gauge’s major flood stage of 22 feet Sunday evening, April 30.

Since reaching that crest at Lansing of 19.61 feet Friday morning, the waters of the Mississippi have also begun to slowly but consistently recede, falling below the moderate flood stage of 19 feet Sunday afternoon, April 30 and currently sitting at 17.78 feet as of press deadline Tuesday morning, May 2. The National Weather Service currently has that Lansing gauge forecasted to continue its steady decrease and fall beneath its minor flood stage of 17 feet overnight this Thursday, May 4 into Friday morning, May 5.

Surrounding photos show some of the impact of the Mississippi River in Lansing at its Friday, April 28 crest of 19.61 feet. Prior to that crest, however, City of Lansing and Allamakee County officials closed portions of South Front Street (middle photo) below and the Great River Road Wednesday, April 26 as the still-rising river waters began to cover those roads. Both roadways have since been opened as of Monday, May 1. A day earlier than those closures, Tuesday, April 25, officials with the Wisconsin and Iowa Departments of Transportation (DOT) coordinated closure of the Wisconsin Hwy. 82 and Black Hawk Bridge connection of the two states as waters continued to rise. Even though the initial closure statement last Tuesday may have stated that closure would last a week, with the history of high water levels having recent destructive impacts on Hwy. 82 and its smaller bridge approaches, Wisconsin DOT spokesperson Michael Bie relayed Monday afternoon, May 1 that Hwy. 82 will remain closed until thorough assessment of the roadway can be completed.

“Safety assessments of the infrastructure along WIS 82 are ongoing and will continue as water levels recede to provide greater access for inspections on land as well as by boat to assess any damages,” Bie shared. “There is currently no anticipated timetable for re-opening WIS 82 at the Lansing crossing. The integrity of the infrastructure for the safety of the traveling public is our top priority. We thank the public for their patience as we conduct the necessary inspections.”

In addition to area road closures, some community areas in Lansing also took the brunt of the high water, including the ball diamond (top photo below) and city park playground area (fourth photo from top at right), as well as the city marina and Tiki Bar along the river (second photo from top at right). Residents not necessarily along the Mississippi River itself but living in the trailer court  (bottom photo at right) along South Fourth Street near the adjoining Clear Creek were also dealing with high water, which also closed and forced evacuation of food items and personnel from the Lansing Iowa Food Trust (LIFT) until further notice (bottom photo below). Photos by Susan Cantine-Maxson.