The 2001 Flood

Upper Mississippi River

Mississippi at Prairie du Chien

The Mississippi at Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Photo © Alan and Mary Ann Draves
For many communities along the upper Mississippi River, the 2001 flood brought the second highest water levels on record. The 2001 flood crest exceeded the crests from the 1993 and 1997 flood at most locations. Only the 1965 flood was worse.

Over the winter of 2000 - 2001, there was heavy snow in southern Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and southern Minnesota. A late, rapid snowmelt combined with heavy rain, led to the flood. There were actually two flood crests in 2001 at many locations. The first occurred around April 20 to 25. Additional rain led to a second crest the week of April 29.

The early Spring flood forcasts indicated only minor flooding along the Mississippi. In early April, it became apparent that rapidly warming temperatures and rain would lead to significant flooding. The National Weather Service issued new forcasts calling for near record flooding in many locations, and the sandbagging began.

Flooding also occurred along the Minnesota and St. Croix rivers, both of which flow into the Mississippi. Flooding also occurred along the Red River, which flows north into Canada from Minnesota and North Dakota.

At this time (May 22), the river has finally dropped below flood stage, after over a month above flood stage. Now, the cleanup can begin, and the extent of damage can be determined. There is damage, but it could have been much worse. Several communities built floodwalls or dikes after the 1965 flood, which protected those communities from major damage this time.

Visit these towns along the Mississippi:

The photos from the towns above were taken during the flood on April 23 to 30.

2001 Flood Links

See how Grand Forks ND rebuilt after the 1997 flood

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This page maintained by Alan Draves.

Copyright © Alan Draves 2001.