The spring showers of April have seemingly stuck around the Winona area for May, with no intention of transforming into flowers just yet. The consistent soggy weather this past week is expected to continue into at least the middle of next week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse, Wis. With the continued rainfall, the NWS expects the Mississippi River in Winona to crest (which means the highest level the water will reach) in the middle of next week as well.
“For now, we’re looking at the crest right along 14.6 feet to occur sometime around May 6 or May 8,” NWS meteorologist Dan Jones said.
Winona’s flood stage is 13 feet, which is marked by the beginning stages of flooding at Prairie Island Park. “It looks like the [Mississippi River] will rise above flood stage this weekend, maybe Saturday, slowly of course, and continue to rise into early-to-middle of next week,” Jones predicted.
While Winona will technically reach its flood stage, Jones assures that for most Winona residents, there is no need to start stockpiling sand bags. The 13-foot flood stage is far lower than the city of Winona's 22-foot dike system. “I don’t think anybody should be panicking right now,” he explained. “Most of the flooding right now is going to be some of the minor stuff.”
While the meteorologists at the NWS are able to predict about a week into the future, they cannot anticipate weather conditions much beyond that. Jones advised that the best thing for residents to do is keep monitoring the weather, and to keep an eye out for heavy rainfall and unsettled weather patterns in the coming weeks. “The public should just be monitoring later [NWS] statements,” he said.
As for residents living in the lower-lying areas of Winona near the Mississippi River, such as Latsch Island and Prairie Island, which are both expected to flood by this weekend, Jones recommended using usual flood safety measures. “If you’re in a low lying area [near] the river [that] is prone to flooding out, take regular precautions and move to higher ground,” he said.
One nearby river that is not expected to cause major flooding, however, is the Trempealeau River. “[It] is falling right now,” Jones said on Friday morning. “It crested yesterday afternoon, and has begun its fall now.”
If you would like to receive more information regarding flood levels visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service website at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/.