While much of the western and south-central portion of the United States are stuck in a devastating drought, parts of the Midwest are trying to fend off near-record flooding. The Mississippi River will crest at 20.8 feet tomorrow in Davenport, Iowa, exceeding flood stage by almost six feet.
The region has seen several heavy rainfall events over the past few weeks, and the saturated ground was inundated by the immense rainfall that occurred as part of the derechos on Monday, according to Quad Cities meteorologist Greg Dutra. The storms this week dropped more than 5 inches of rain in a short amount of time across parts of eastern Iowa and western Illinois, leaving widespread rainfall totals of 5 to more than 10 inches for the past two weeks, as shown by the above map.
The Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois — just across the river from Davenport, Iowa (the flooded-out city pictured beneath the chart) — is expected to crest just below 21 feet tomorrow afternoon, which is more than six feet above flood stage.
If the river crests as high as predicted, it will be the sixth largest flood ever recorded on the Mississippi at Rock Island.
Further north along the Mississippi in St. Paul, Minnesota, the river there is also more than six feet above flood stage, with an expected crest of 20.1 feet this evening. A little west of the Mississippi in eastern Iowa, Iowa City is issuing evacuations as the Coralville Lake Reservoir is nearing the 712-foot cutoff before it starts to spill over and cause flooding in neighboring communities.
The major flooding should slowly wane through the weekend as drier, cooler air prevails. The next chance of rain comes early next week, some of which could prove heavy.
[Images via AP, NWS, NWS, and KWQC's Facebook]
UPDATE: A gentleman on Twitter took extreme offense to my using the term "flooded-out" to refer to the flooding in Davenport, Iowa. He notes that the city took measures to protect itself from the flooding, and that so far the downtown area has seen minimal private property damage. However, Greg Dutra, the meteorologist I quoted in the article, notes that the city will lose "a lot of revenue" due to the cancelled fireworks show scheduled for Thursday evening. While Davenport is not completely flooded out, it's still experiencing a "major flood" based on river gauges. My apologies to the great people of Davenport for the error.