Floodwaters Forcing Road Closures Along Mississippi

April 19, 2011; 1:08 PM ET
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Flooding also continues along rivers in the Dakotas. A road by the Moorhead Center Mall is submerged by the floodwaters from the Red River, Friday, April 8, 2011, in Moorhead, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

As waters continue to swell along the Mississippi River, officials are warning residents and closing roadways in anticipation of a crest soon in some areas.

Homes and businesses along the river from near Dubuque, Iowa, to the Quad Cities are stacking sandbags and preparing for the worst as river levels are expected peak this week.

Many nearby roadways have been closed due to high water, with officials taking precautionary measures to protect vehicles along roads and bridges in danger of being impacted.

The Savanna-Sabula bridge, an important thoroughfare that connects northern Illinois with central Iowa, was closed on Monday night. The worry that debris could strike the underbelly of the bridge led to the closure, leaving drivers to deal with a much longer commute around the bridge.

The bridge normally services about 10,000 vehicles a day and was last closed in 2001.

Downstream in Davenport, crews continue to monitor levees and flood barriers around the clock. While river forecasts from the National Weather Service are usually very accurate, they do not take into account extra runoff as a result of heavy rain events.

Crests along the Mississippi have already occurred farther north near Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., but waters will continue to rise for weeks well downstream.

Local emergency officials have been instructing those in homes along some low-lying areas to evacuate. Agricultural fields along the river taking on floodwaters could experience heavy damage that could impact growth for weeks.

This hydrograph shows the observed and forecast flood stage for the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Ill., through early next week. (NOAA)

Here are some flooding forecasts for cities along the Mississippi River, including stages as of Tuesday morning:

--Dubuque, Iowa: River stage as of Tuesday morning is 22.6 feet, 5.6 feet above flood stage. The river is forecast to crest at 23 feet tonight.

--Rock Island, Ill. (Quad Cities): River stage as of Tuesday morning is 19.2 feet, 4.2 feet above flood stage. The river is forecast to crest at 20.7 feet on Friday morning.

--Quincy, Ill.: River stage as of Tuesday morning is 18.1 feet, 1.1 feet above flood stage. The river is forecast to rise to 21.9 feet on Saturday.

--New Madrid, Mo.: River stage as of Tuesday morning is 33.9 feet, just below flood stage. The river is forecast to rise to 36 feet by Friday.

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