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A River [Almost] Ran Through It - Mississippi River Flooding on WIU's Quad Cities Campus March & April 2019

As Mississippi River flood waters rose to cover River Drive in Moline, IL, WIU’s Environmental Science researchers geared up to track the depth and speed of water in places that are rarely ever connected to this great river.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019. At the curb in front of WIU's Quad Cities campus the flood water was 22" deep with a surface speed of 1.1 mph.

Four days later, things looked much different ...

Saturday, April 6, 2019. At the curb in front of WIU's Quad Cities campus, the flood water was 34" deep with a surface speed of 1.8 mph. That was a 12" increase in water depth over just four days!
As a point of reference, according to the National Park Service, the average surface speed of the Mississippi River ranges from 1.2 mph at its origin to around 3 mph in New Orleans, LA.
Saturday, April 6, 2019. A west-looking view from the second floor of the WIU-QC campus. Notice that the water storage pond was connected to the Mississippi River.
Saturday, April 6, 2019. Second floor view of the Mississippi River. The Rocky statute is coming closer to taking a bath.
Saturday, April 6, 2019. Second floor view to the east. Even though our water storage ponds were part of the Mississippi River, campus facilities remain DRY!
Thursday, April 11, 2019. The flood water began to recede! The water depth at the curb was 31" - a 3" drop - but the surface speed remained close to 1.8 mph.
Thursday, April 18, 2019. One week later, the water at the curb fell to 16.5" deep with a speed of 1.1 mph.
Thursday, April 25, 2019. Another week and waters continue to recede. Today, we were able to take our measurements in knee boots - no need for waders! The water at the curb was 11" deep with a surface velocity of 0.9 mph.

As the flood waters recede, cleanup will be the next big challenge ...

Sediment and huge trees in the street ...
trash washed ashore ...
and a navigation buoy in the parking lot?!

Stay tuned for more photos and data as we wait to see what Mother Nature has in store for us next.

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