ST. LOUIS – Water levels along the Upper Mississippi River are at near record levels.

Up north, communities like St. Paul, Minnesota and Dubuque, Iowa are dealing with major flooding. In Missouri, some parts of the state are dealing with moderate flooding.

This spring’s flooding was caused by the rapid snowmelt of the snowpack across Minnesota and Wisconsin. A historic winter and a cooler than normal spring delayed the snowmelt. 

“When those warm temperatures finally came this spring, we had been saying all along, the longer this holds on the more likely we’re going to see a rapid warm up and that’s exactly what ended up happening,” explained Mike Welvaert, the Service Coordination Hydrologist with the National Weather Service North Central River Forecast Center. “It basically acted like let’s say you had a four- or five-inch rainstorm over a widespread area. You’re going to expect flooding on the river.” 

In 2019, there were multiple significant rain events as the snowmelt crest was nearing which made matters worse. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers says this year should be a shorter duration event versus 2019 where some districts were in the flood fight for almost 100 days. 

“We’re expecting this to be a relatively quick flood, several weeks to a month as it moves through the system. So this floods got to move through a very large navigation system,” said Drew Smith of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Hopefully we can get this peak through the system and get it back down and get our navigation system open back up.” 

The navigation system to our north largely impacted with 8 lock and dams closed in Wisconsin and Minnesota with additional closures anticipated in the coming days. 

Barring no heavy rainfall events, flooding in St. Louis, is still not a concern. However, we will see close to a four-and-a-half-foot climb at the riverfront. 

“Their crest expected there well out May 8th [or] 10th. Depends on if we get more additional rainfall. And notice we’re not even expected to reach flood stage down in St. Louis. The Missouri River is really not contributing much water to the system this year. It’s been kind of dry out there,” Welvaert said.