It’s been a waiting game in southeast Iowa as towns along the Mississippi River watched and hoped levees held. The river should top out at 25 feet in Fort Madison this evening and at nearly 27 and a half feet in Keokuk tomorrow night.
Lee County Emergency Management coordinator Steve Cirinna says they’re keeping an eye on the levees. "Until this river gets back down below flood stage, there’s always a concern that any one of the protective measures that we’ve taken can still fail," he says, "so what everybody’s doing right now is kind of watching and if there is any seepage or leakage, to get that water pumped out."
The levee break in Gulfport, Illinois Tuesday actually lowered the river level downstream, lessening the stress on levees downstream. "I guess in a way other’s misfortune is our fortune in this instance where when these levees break it helps relieve some of the amount of water coming in," Cirinna says. "It gives you a little time to make some repairs to any problems that you might have had when the river was up."
The crest to come in Keokuk is expected to be slightly above 1993 levels.