High water was expected to halt commercial traffic on the upper Mississippi River early this week following weekend storms that dumped more than 10 inches of rain on parts of the northern U. S. Midwest.
Six locks on the key waterway linking farms in the U. S. Midwest with grain export terminals at the Gulf of Mexico will be closed for several days as machinery used to operate the locks is moved to higher ground, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
Heavy weekend rains swelled smaller rivers that feed into the Mississippi and flooded low-lying areas in parts of the northern corn belt.
A dam in northeast Iowa was breached by rising floodwaters on the Maquoketa River July 24, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
“Dubuque got hit last week with over seven inches of rain and then it started raining over the other basin, the Maquoketa River and the Turkey River,” said Dennis Shannon, chief of the lock and dam section for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Rock Island District.
“As that wall of water moves downriver it starts closing things as it moves south,” he said.
The Mississippi River is the main channel for grain flowing from farms in the Midwest to export terminals at the U. S. Gulf. Between 55 and 65 per cent of all U. S. corn, soybeans and wheat exports are shipped from the Gulf.