WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Flood Protection in Southeast Iowa

Jul 2, 2014

Cities and counties along the Mississippi River are preparing for a surge of high water.

Large barriers are being placed around Memorial Auditorium in Burlington to hold back the Mississippi River.
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

The river is expected to crest over the weekend, about 4' higher than it is now at Burlington and Keokuk.

Lee County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Cirinna says it should not rise above the current projections, per the National Weather Service.

“(The NWS is) forecasting no severe events or a lot of rain that is going to create a higher crest at this point for the next 5-7 days.”

Lee County has declared a state of emergency to open up access to state resources and the Green Bay Levee is being raised using heavy equipment.

Keokuk has about 10,000 sandbags on hand, though Mayor Tom Marion could send out a call for volunteers to fill more at any time.

The southeast corner of Memorial Auditorium's parking lot in Burlington.
Credit Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

Fort Madison is working to reach that level as sandbags are being filled by prison inmates while the city awaits some larger barriers that will be placed around its wastewater treatment plant.

Burlington is already dealing with the high water.  City employees have focused on Memorial Auditorium and several nearby buildings as water has already breached the auditorium’s parking lot.