Julia Poska | March 14, 2019
While Iowans rejoiced over spring-like weather this week after a long, brutal winter, flooding caused by rapid snowmelt and heavy rains has threatened communities across the state.
Iowa weather services have been reporting higher-than-average risks for major flooding this spring since late February, and many outlooks have only increased within the last week, according to the Des Moines Register. The risk is most pronounced along the Mississippi River, where a Quad Cities survey found the risk of flooding through May to be 95 percent last week. The National Weather Service says flooding in the Quad Cities could break records.
The National Weather Service issued a flood watch Wednesday morning that will last until at least this evening across most of the state. In some areas the watch will extend into next week. Below is information on flooding and alerts throughout the state as of this morning.
- Major flood stage was reached in Waterloo, Maquoketa and DeWitt as of Thursday morning. Moderate flood stage was reached in many areas Wednesday, including Kalona, Atkins and Augusta (IFIS).
- Yesterday, Cedar Rapids expected a “moderate flood stage” when the Cedar River crests early next week. Officials said this should be fairly insignificant for residents. The city had already reached moderate flood stage as of Wednesday night (Gazette/IFIS).
- An ice jam raised alarm in Ottumwa Wednesday morning, though it only caused minor agricultural flooding (Des Moines Register).
- Squaw Creek in Ames reached major flood stage Wednesday afternoon. As of Thursday morning, all areas were at or below moderate levels (IFIS).
- An ice jam collapsed a bridge in Johnston Wednesday evening. The trail leading to the bridge had been closed prior to the collapse (Des Moines Register).
- Des Moines Public Works closed parts of George Flagg Parkway and Fleur Avenue. These could remain closed for days (WHOtv).
- An ice jam in the Raccoon River flooded rural communities in Dallas County (Des Moines Register).
- Western Iowa was hit worst of all. As of Thursday morning, eight communities from north to south were at major flood stage (IFIS).
- The Boyer River in Hogan and the West Nishnabotna River near Avoca reached major flood stage Wednesday afternoon. A Red Cross station was set up in Avoca for those displaced from homes (kwbe/IFIS).
- Underwood in Pottawattamie County lost function of its sewer lift system Wednesday. Residents were asked to stop flushing toilets temporarily (kwbe).
- Harrison County Emergency Management ordered a partial evacuation of Missouri Valley Wednesday night. As of 9:20pm, 2,600 people were underwater (Des Moines Register).
- Several roads have been closed as well. Check 511ia.org for current closures.
Take care around even shallowly flooded areas, especially when driving. Remember that while newly-purchased flood insurance takes 30 days to go into effect (and will therefore not help you this week), Iowa’s flood season has only just begun.
Visit the Iowa Flood Information System to monitor current flood alerts, stream levels and rainfall forecasts for your area.