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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Days of rain increase flooding worries

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

DES MOINES - The impact won't be clear for a couple of days, but major flooding along two eastern Iowa rivers has local and county officials preparing for the worst.

The major floods of last summer left a lasting impression on the eastern part of the state, one its residents are not eager to repeat.

But as a weekend of steady drizzle turns into major flooding along the Iowa and English rivers, Louisa County Emergency Management Coordinator Staci Griffin said emergency responders are "in limbo."

"There's definitely the potential for some major impacts," Griffin said, noting it was likely too early to tell on Sunday what damage would be wrought when the rivers flooded their banks. "We're in a wait-and-see mode right now."

Griffin said that while the flooding poses a danger to fragile communities just now trying to rebuild from the devastation of the 2008 floods, the farmland and property damaged last summer may be able to withstand whatever the flooding brings.

"The levels are not quite so high (as in 2008)," Griffin said as she toured the county. "The property already sitting in a damaged state probably won't get damaged much more."

But Griffin said those trying to rebuild are watching the water closely.

The National Weather Service said more than a day of rain on saturated or frozen ground has led to the flooding, and people in low-lying areas around the state were warned to move to higher ground.

Flood warnings remained in effect on Monday for rivers and tributaries across central and eastern Iowa.

"We have most of the rivers in this end of the state out of their banks or forecast to go over their banks," said Dan Ferry, a meteorologist with the weather service in Davenport.

Ferry said Monday that he had not heard of any widespread evacuations, and mostly farm land was being affected.

In Iowa City, water was knee-deep in a mobile home park on Sunday after nearby ditches filled up, and the storm drains couldn't handle all the water.

Residents used sump pumps to keep the water away from their homes and moved their vehicles to higher ground.

The weather service forecasts major flooding along the Iowa River in Wapello, Lone Tree, Marengo and Columbus Junction, as well as at the English River near Kalona.

The weather service say the floodwaters will rise about 5 feet above flood stage until late next week.

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