Hydrologist: No threat of Mississippi River floods so far

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  Ships sit idle along the banks of the Mississippi River north of the Grammercy bridge Monday after a barge collision near Vacherie Saturday closed river traffic. Traffic resumed mid-afternoon Monday. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Ships sit idle along the banks of the Mississippi River north of the Grammercy bridge Monday after a barge collision near Vacherie Saturday closed river traffic. Traffic resumed mid-afternoon Monday.

NEW ORLEANS — This winter’s record snowfalls haven’t been widespread enough to create anything more than typical high water farther south on the Mississippi River, National Weather Service hydrologist Jeff Graschel said.

The river was expected to be at or near flood stage Sunday in Cairo, Ohio, where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers meet, but that’s likely to be brief, and effects farther south are unlikely so far, said Graschel, at the weather service office in Slidell.

Although rain in the next three to five days in parts of the Ohio River Valley might change the prediction, he said, “Right now we’re looking at about a day right at flood stage levels.”

That would cause minor flooding typical of the season in that area, affecting mostly farmland, he said.

Heavier snowfall in the Mississippi or Ohio valleys later this year could change things, but there aren’t any current climate signals that it’s likely, he said.

“We’ve had some big snows in areas like Chicago and Wisconsin and portions of Minnesota,” he said, adding Missouri. “But you need a very large extent of that record snow to give us impacts on the Mississippi.”