We knew one of the biggest variables in this trip was going to be the weather. Well, Mother Nature isn’t making it too easy for us this year.
The Good: The Mississippi River headwaters area trails supervisor called us back about last summer’s windstorm that toppled hundreds of trees, letting us know a crew went through last year and cleaned up the most significant damage. Although there may be a downed tree here or there, forcing us to portage our canoe occasionally, he saw no reason for us to change our plans.
The Bad: Certain sections of the Mississippi River between are experiencing significant flooding (some of it record-breaking), which has forced the closure of much of the river and made headlines around the country, including these gems: Mississippi River Communities Brace for Flooding, Floods to Sideline Mississippi Barges for at Least Another Week and Mississipi River Reopens After Barges Hit Bridge, a story about the river re-opening after several of the 30 barges that broke free from their towline because of the flooding hit the railroad bridge near Vicksburg. To think that just a few months ago the big concern was a drought that also threatened closure of the river. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that we won’t reach these sections for another few months, so hopefully flooding will not be a concern by then. But:
The Ugly: Snow storms continue to wallop the upper Midwest, increasing the risk of further flooding. As of April 19, 14 inches of snow have fallen in the Twin Cities, and that was before another several inches fell yesterday. Even before this week’s storm, this April is snowier than the past 10 Aprils combined. Uff da.