MARQUETTE, Iowa — Communities in northeast Iowa along the Mississippi River are bracing for major flooding this week. Preparations are underway for a crest that could possibly be the second-highest ever in Marquette.
“We go from a drought to where you’re wishing for rain,” said Marquette Mayor Steven Wiepert. “Pretty soon winter comes in it snows and it snows a whole lot up north and now you have more water than you can almost handle.”
So after the low summer on the Mississippi River, word comes down of a huge snowpack in Minnesota.
“We’ve been concerned ever since spring and you know they keep telling you it’s going to be this high, then all of a sudden, we swear we better get things lined up,” said Weipert.
A bed and breakfast along the river is surrounded by water and the riverfront area is swamped by rising water. The town has begun putting up Hesco barriers and will add more this week. They have raised up a road to get into what’s called the Bench, the lowest area in town, where a few residents need to be ready to evacuate.
The rising water may mean Highway 76 will be closed down. The Mayor credits the help the city had in getting ready for the flood.
“God love the fire department, they dropped off sandbags and we sandbagged Marquette, McGregor they just as we use them up they come back up and refill,” said Wiepert. “One phone call to MFL-Marmac school and 120 kids showed up it’s amazing to see three busloads empty all at once and it’s like a small army.”
The mayor hopes the Hesco barriers will hold back the water.
“If the town has to shut down, it’s going to be because we could not hold the water back so then it might be a while to take a long time to pump all this water back out. We’ve done this before you know it scares is it makes me very, very nervous, but you know we do have a plan we’re gonna follow. Our plan gets worse before hopefully it’ll work again,” said Marquette Mayor Steven Wiepert.
The Mississippi River could crest there late this week or the coming weekend.