By Julia Shanahan | June 27th, 2019
Due to record rainfall and Iowa waterbodies being at or above flood levels, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources advises individuals who plan to take part in Fourth of July festivities on the water to be cautious.
“Don’t overload your [boat],” said DNR boating law administrator Susan Stocker in a news release. “The U.S. Coast Guard, along with manufacturers, determines the capacity of each boat and it is visible on virtually all boats. Watch for objects at or just below the surface. The rain and runoff may have washed logs or other debris into the water or moved previous obstacles to different locations.”
Iowa set a record for rain and snow the last 12 months, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. State weather experts say a changing climate and higher ocean temperatures from thousands of miles away contributed to Iowa’s increase in precipitation as well, according to a report from the Des Moines Register.
In May, the Mississippi River near the Quad Cities hit the highest level ever recorded – 22.7 feet.
As the hot summer months continue, Iowa can expect higher than average rainfall. Along with climate change, El Nino conditions over the Pacific Ocean is also a contributing factor. This moisture was also a factor in the major flooding that happened in southwest Iowa and Nebraska in March after snowmelt and rainfall.
For Iowans looking for more information about how to stay safe on a boat this Fourth of July, the DNR has boater education resources online.