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Aerial image of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

Corps of Engineers monitors high water on Upper Mississippi River

Published Jan. 27, 2020
Ice dams form on the Upper Mississippi River near Lock and Dam 6, near Trempealeau, Wisconsin.

Ice dams form on the Upper Mississippi River near Lock and Dam 6, near Trempealeau, Wisconsin.

ST. PAUL, Minn. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, is monitoring high water conditions affecting parts of the Upper Mississippi River in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa as a result of historic flows this winter.

The Corps urges the public to remain vigilant for river flooding. Cities from Winona, Minnesota, to Guttenberg, Iowa, have an increased chance of localized flooding due to ice dams.  

The high water conditions were created by a combination of ice dams and historic high flows. The current river flows are at levels normally observed in late spring. Irregular temperatures have also prevented ice from forming in a stable way, which compounds the ice dam problem. The ice has blocked the river’s normal flow and forced water out of its banks. It has also reduced Corps water managers’ abilities to actively manage the river water elevations.

“We have never in our record had these sustained high flows over the month of January,” said Dan Fasching, St. Paul District water manager for the Upper Mississippi River.

Depending on temperatures and the rate of ice melt, Fasching said there could be more high water in the weeks and months ahead. He added that the Corps is working closely with the National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey to share information relevant to potential flood risk and will continue to monitor high water conditions on the Upper Mississippi River.

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Release no. 20-003