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Stretch of Mississippi River Shut Down By Flooding

June 25, 1993

BELLEVUE, Iowa (AP) _ Traffic on a 215-mile stretch of the Mississippi River was brought to a halt today as flooding forced the closure of two sets of locks and dams.

″This is going to have a major impact on commercial traffic; shippers are going to have to find alternatives or else wait,″ said Denise Yale, a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers at Rock Island, Ill.

Yale predicted that through traffic on the river would be halted for two weeks.

As much as 10 inches of rain fell Thursday in southeastern Iowa, flooding the basements of hundreds of homes and closed streets. Heavy rain also has fallen this week upstream in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Lock and Dam 20 at Canton, Mo., and No. 17 at New Boston, Ill., were closed today. Lauren Hager, lockmaster at Lock and Dam 12 at Bellevue, said his facility was closing later in the day.

Yale said several other locks would be forced to shut down as well.

Flooding also shut down the river for a time this spring, for the first time since 1986, but Yale said the new flooding is likely to exceed the spring flood.

″This late in the year, it’s never happened before,″ said Hager. ″It’s going to be a major disruption. Nobody plans for flooding this late in the year.″

Bellevue Lock electrician Bill Hainstock said the river was at 16.63 feet by midmorning. Flood stage is 17 feet and Hainstock said the lock must close when the river reaches 17.2 feet, when it threatens electric motors that run the locks’ gates and valves.

At Dubuque, the Mississippi was expected to rise above flood stage today and crest Tuesday at 22 feet. Flood stage at Dubuque is 17 feet. The city itself is protected by bluffs and a flood wall.

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