MHS prom-picture time

Then Muscatine High School juniors Kamree Krogman, left, and Yaritza Saucedo pose as Dana Hunt snap a quick photo of them before they head into the prom in 2016.

MUSCATINE — Muscatine High School juniors and seniors need not worry about flooding downtown ruining their Saturday night, Prom is still on.

Record flooding this week has left Mississippi Drive inundated with water, including in front of the Prom venue Merrill Hotel and Conference Center.

Mike Morgan, athletics director at Muscatine High School said every dance the school has arranged this year has been affected by weather including the Winter Thaw dance that was rescheduled due to record cold temperatures.

"So this is not a surprise," he said.

School staff have tried to be proactive, he said, and coordination among the city of Muscatine, the Merrill and Muscatine Police will provide students a safe and dry Prom night.

Merrill General Manager Patrick Leonard said the parking situation downtown is "a delicate balance of trying to be a good neighbor" but the hotel has a plan to accommodate the approximately 400 students expected to arrive.

Students will be able to park in the hotel parking ramp and parking lot on the corner of East 3rd and Sycamore streets, he said. Valet parking will also be available, Leonard said, because hotel staff is more than willing to help out their guests.

Metered parking spots on 2nd Street is another option and will be no cost on the weekend. Morgan said students will be notified Saturday morning about street closures, parking locations and entrance instructions. Information was also posted to the Muscatine High School Facebook page asking students to carpool.

Each year before Prom, Morgan said, school staff give students an "Operation Prom" presentation about dos and don'ts of Prom, and this year flooding added a couple items to the list.

"We reminded the boys that it might be a nice thing to drop girls off," Morgan said.

Not going near the river was another one.

"We told them if they want to go out on the balcony to look at the water they can," he said, "but that's close enough."

Despite the weather, Morgan said students are excited for Prom and staff will do what they can to make arriving there fine.

"We're just going to play it by ear, and try to keep the dresses dry and try to keep the kids clean," he said.

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