River Levels Streamgages Weather

Total streamflow across the Prairie River was last observed at 189 cfs, and is expected to yield approximately 375 acre-ft of water today; about 78% of normal. Average streamflow for this time of year is 243 cfs, with recent peaks last observed on 2019-04-19 when daily discharge volume was observed at 3,550 cfs.

Maximum discharge along the river is currently at the Prairie River Near Taconite reporting a streamflow rate of 189 cfs. However, the streamgauge with the highest stage along the river is the Prairie River Near Nottawa with a gauge stage of 4.26 ft. This river is monitored from 3 different streamgauging stations along the Prairie River, the highest being situated at an altitude of 1,332 ft, the Prairie River Near Taconite.

July 20, 2024







Last Updated 2024-07-20
Discharge Volume 375 ACRE-FT
Streamflow 189.0 cfs
-15.0 cfs (-7.35%)
Percent of Normal 77.88%
Maximum 3,550.0 cfs
Seasonal Avg 243 cfs
Streamgauge Streamflow Gauge Stage 24hr Change (%) % Normal Minimum (cfs) Maximum (cfs) Air Temp Elevation
Prairie River Near Taconite
USGS 05212700
189 cfs 3.56 ft -7.35
Prairie River Near Merrill
USGS 05394500
125 cfs 2.38 ft -6.72
Prairie River Near Nottawa
USGS 04097540
126 cfs 4.26 ft -8.7

Regional Streamflow


Cubic Feet Per Second


Cubic Feet Per Second


Cubic Feet Per Second


Cubic Feet Per Second

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Historical River Levels

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.Native Americans have lived along the Mississippi River and its tributaries for thousands of years. Most were hunter-gatherers, but some, such as the Mound Builders, formed prolific agricultural societies. The arrival of Europeans in the 16th century changed the native way of life as first explorers, then settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers. The river served first as a barrier, forming borders for New Spain, New France, and the early United States, and then as a vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of the ideology of manifest destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States.
Formed from thick layers of the river's silt deposits, the Mississippi embayment is one of the most fertile regions of the United States; steamboats were widely used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to ship agricultural and industrial goods. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory, due to the river's strategic importance to the Confederate war effort. Because of substantial growth of cities and the larger ships and barges that replaced steamboats, the first decades of the 20th century saw the construction of massive engineering works such as levees, locks and dams, often built in combination. A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans.
Since the 20th century, the Mississippi River has also experienced major pollution and environmental problems – most notably elevated nutrient and chemical levels from agricultural runoff, the primary contributor to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.

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