Floodwaters around La Crosse area not expected to fall soon

Floodwaters around La Crosse area not expected to fall soon

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Its been nearly a month since the Mississippi River in La Crosse first rose above flood stage and the water level isn't expected to fall any time soon. The floodwaters continue to threaten homes and businesses and impact travel. 

When the mighty Mississippi River hits 12 feet, that's when we enter flood stage. On Wednesday, it was right around 14.3 feet. 

"Ideally, this would be the last peak for the spring and the water levels would continue to fall now," said Todd Shea, warning and coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

This is the third time the river has crested. While it's not necessarily unusual to have multiple crests, Shea said we might be more likely to see one bigger flooding event around the spring thaw and then a few more, smaller rises in the river level. 

"To have a couple similar in the moderate level and then just as high as it is this long is certainly abnormal," Shea said. 

Still, the flooding could have been worse. 

"The '65 flood [was at] 18 feet-- that was a flood," said Ron Bion, who was fishing on French Island.

Bion is a longtime area resident. He was out on the water fishing for perch. 

"I just stuck pretty much in this bay, below the Clinton Street bridge and in where the docks are here," Bion said, motioning at the flooded ramp. 

While he isn't letting the flooding stop him from fishing, there are some spots he won't venture out on at this point. 

"When I was younger, I'd been out there with my boat on the Mississippi fighting it. At my age, I try to take it easy," Bion said.

He's going to stick to the bays until the water goes down. But when that will happen is unclear as more rain is expected to head our way. 

"It's a little bit unknown if, again, how fast it will fall and how long overall it is going to stay up going into the next couple of weeks," Shea said.

According to the National Weather Service, some parts of the Mississippi River are still rising, including by McGregor. It is considered to be in the 'moderate" flood category but is expected to reach major flooding late Thursday or early Friday.

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