PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (AP) -- The battle to contain the rising Mississippi River continued into the weekend as weary residents held out hope that floodwaters would begin retreating.
The National Weather Service predicted rain in Prairie du Chien early Saturday as the river inched closer to its expected crest of 23.9 feet. The river was at 23.74 feet Friday night, nearly 8 feet above flood stage.
"The Mississippi will remind us every once in a while who's boss," said Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., who toured the area Friday after being forced from his home upriver by hip-deep water earlier in the week.
In Illinois, Gov. George Ryan planned to take a helicopter tour of East Dubuque, Savanna and the Quad Cities on Saturday to get a firsthand look at flooding. Ryan called up the Illinois National Guard to help fight flooding and declared a disaster in eight river counties.
Pressure from the river caused a sewer main to break in East Dubuque on Friday, sending sewage in two neighborhoods. Flood crews fixed the break, and about 100 displaced residents were allowed to return to their homes, City Manager Mick Michel said.
The city's neighbor in Iowa encountered minor inconveniences as the Mississippi closed in on its crest. The river was expected to reach 25 feet at Dubuque on Saturday, but the city remained safe thanks to a flood wall built in 1965 that can withstand river heights of 33 feet.
"We're not like Davenport -- we build our flood wall," said Karen Thompson, noting the city downstream which has not constructed a flood wall to hold back the surging river.
Thompson played the slot machines at Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino, hardly aware of the rising water. She said the floodwaters did not dampen crowds at the casino and nearby Diamond Jo riverboat casino.
"We're in pretty good shape compared to a lot of places," said John Klostermann, Dubuque's street and sewer supervisor. "It's kind of uneventful -- that's the way we like it."
In Davenport, the largest city along the upper Mississippi River lacking a flood control system, the river was expected to crest at 22 feet to 22.5 feet on Tuesday. Public Works Director Dee Bruemmer said the city should avoid major damage if crest predictions hold.
With sandbag levees and water pumps still keeping water from overtaking many homes in Prairie du Chien, some residents weren't letting the flooding get in the way of their plans as the sun set on a warm Friday evening.
Dan Noble and Tom Bouzek stood in water that reached above their knees as they drank bottles of beer and cooked bratwurst over a partially submerged charcoal grill outside Rowdy's Bar & Grill.
"He's crazy," said Deb Noble, who stood on dry land watching her husband.
In La Crosse, 60 miles upriver from Prairie du Chien, a state of emergency stayed in effect Friday.
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