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Flood Warning: Mississippi River

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning in areas along the Mississippi River. The warning comes after heavy rains throughout much of June has plagued the upper Midwest, Corn Belt region. The river is estimated to be at five to eight feet over the flood state (in certain areas along the river). Areas in question include: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and northern Missouri.

Most of the rain that has fell was concentrated on certain days – June 22, June 30, June 26 and June 27. According to Harry Hillaker, state climatologist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, the statewide average precipitation for June 2014 in Illinois was 6.78 inches of rain, making it the eighth wettest June on record.

Given the precipitation levels, the Corn Belt was wetter than average with the average rainfall levels in the range of six to ten inches. Thankfully, the majority, 80 per cent of grain exports occur between September and February so the rising Mississippi water levels shouldn’t have a huge impact on the U.S. grain industry.

Communities and those celebrating Independence Day throughout the weekend are advised to use extreme caution as river conditions and water levels could quickly change depending on the weather.

The rising water levels has prompted the closure of several locks and dams along the Mississippi. It could be about two weeks before dams are locks and dams are reopened. Hydrologists at the National Weather Service predicts that water levels won’t drop below flood stage until early July.

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