Second Mississippi crest could reach major stage at McGregor

   Recent rainfall in southwest Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota has led to additional flood threats along the Mississippi River in eastern Clayton County.

   As of Monday at noon, the National Weather Service was predicting a 22.9-foot crest at its gauge in McGregor. At 11 a.m. Monday the river level was 19.31 feet, which is in the moderate category. The river is expected to rise through the week, entering major flood stage Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. It is expected to remain at major flood stage for several days.

   The secondary crest is expected to be higher than the river’s initial crest of 21.34 that came April 4. That crest, the sixth-highest on record and highest since the river crested at 23.75 feet in 2001, was lower than initial estimates and came at the end of a lengthy dry pattern. Since the April 4 crest, the river fell to about 18 feet before beginning to rise again Saturday afternoon.

   A 22.9-foot crest would be the third-highest on record in McGregor, topped only by the 2001 crest and the record 25.38-foot crest that occurred April 24, 1965. At 21.5 feet, the railroad tracks near the Casino Queen Marquette are closed, and at 22 feet water covers the north end of Main Street in McGregor. If water reaches 23.5 feet, the road in front of the casino would be closed.

   River crest forecasts take into account past precipitation as well as amounts expected within the next 24 hours.