To add insult to coronavirus injury, Mississippi River about to roll higher (and it’s already above flood stage)

Published 4:56 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

As if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t enough to worry about, the Mississippi River is continuing to rise and will continue on its spring swell, causing a threat of flooding across a third of the country.

The river stood at 52.5 feet on the Natchez, Mississippi, gauge Tuesday, where flood stage is 48 feet.

National Weather Service hydrologists forecast the river at Natchez will rise in the coming weeks to hit 55 feet on April 6, when it will begin a slow fall.

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Up the river in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the river was at 45.1 feet. Flood stage in Vicksburg is at 43 feet.

The river in Vicksburg is expected to a height of 48 feet on April 6, before beginning to fall.

But according to federal forecasters, an increase in rainfall across areas north of Louisiana will pose a threat of high river conditions through May. Highly saturated soil in areas where rainfall might occur will also increase the chances of flooding across central and southeastern states, officials added.

The Mississippi River watershed faces a risk of major or moderate flooding. Those conditions do not represent a threat of levee failure in Louisiana.

Some upper parts of the Mississippi River and other rivers are also predicted to reach high flood conditions this spring.

Upper river conditions along the northern Gulf Coast are expected to result in above-average dead zone conditions, said Ed Clark, the Director of NOAA’s National Water Center. This will make shrimp and fish go elsewhere.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.