DAVENPORT – Two people were towed from the Mississippi River Tuesday afternoon after the 18-foot long runabout they were operating lost power from an overheated engine. The disabled boat was drifting down river at a rapid pace with no control over where it went in the strong current.
The Mississippi River level at Rock Island is 2.4 feet above flood stage, and that high water is moving fast. Downstream, the river level is even higher.
“We are advising against boating on the Mississippi River from Clinton down to the Missouri border until the water level drops several more feet, and that could take weeks,” said State Conservation Officer Ed Kocal, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Upstream, near McGregor, the river is just below flood stage, leaving no sandbars or places for boats to tie up. Boaters heading out on the upper pools should use extreme caution and check with local marinas ahead of time to make sure their ramps are open, in the event that the river dictates a change in plans.
Flooding isn’t restricted to the Mississippi River. The Cedar and Iowa rivers in southeast Iowa are also above flood stage and caution is urged on those rivers as well.
The high water is the result of flash flooding that passed through northeast Iowa last week. The heavy rains also washed debris into the river and, combined with little water clarity and a strong current, makes for a hazardous situation.
“Boaters should make plans to go boating on a lake this year until the river comes down to more normal flows and the hazards decrease,” Kocal said.