Mississippi watershed high water levels, flows will continue into January

MISSISSIPPI WATERSHED — As the December rain and melt moves through the system, higher than average water levels and flows will continue across the Mississippi River watershed. 

“Based on current forecasts, no flooding is expected and lake levels should continue to decrease,” Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) water resource technologist Jennifer North released in a statement today (Jan. 4). “The Crotch Lake reservoir is full and sitting at its upper target for this time of year. As the excess water is released, flows downstream of Crotch Lake will remain high for the balance of the winter.”

At this time there is a risk of ice jamming and/or frazil ice increasing river levels. Air temperatures below -8°C can result in frazil ice formations in open flowing water. Similarly, high flows can dislodge ice sheets creating jams. Both result in water levels rising quickly, without warning.

Residents are advised to maintain a close watch on levels and flows and take the necessary precautions to protect their property by:

  • Regularly testing and maintaining sump pumps and backwater valves
  • Removing or securing items that might float away if levels increase

“Additionally, ice thickness can change drastically due to high flows,” North said. “The shoreline adjacent to lakes, rivers and creeks is very slippery and poses a serious hazard. Falling into open water can result in hypothermia or drowning.”

The MVCA reminds the public to exercise extreme caution around all water bodies by:

  • Regularly testing ice thickness and staying off all ice that may cover flowing water
  • Remind children about the dangers of playing on or near ice covered surfaces and open water
  • Keep pets on leash near frozen water bodies
  • The MVCA does not monitor ice conditions

This message will be in effect until (or updated before) Monday Jan. 25.