Rising river

Iowa River levels expected to peak above flood stage this week, flood warning Thursday night to Sunday afternoon

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND - Many areas of Marshalltown and Marshall County are seeing the impacts of heavy rain, including Riverview Park, shown here. The National Weather Service recommends avoiding standing water and instead finding an alternate route in heavy rain conditions. It can be hard to gage the depth of standing water.

Marshalltown area residents don’t have to look far back in history to see what can happen when the nearby Iowa River leaves its banks, and the National Weather Service predicts minor flooding to take place later this week.

According to the NWS, the river was at 17.83 feet as of mid-afternoon Wednesday. The level is expected to increase until hitting a peak of 19.5 feet Friday, six inches above the “minor” flood stage.

Wednesday afternoon, the NWS sent out a flood statement “for all or portions of” several rivers in the state, including the Iowa River in Marshall and Tama counties. As of Wednesday afternoon, a flood warning was in effect from 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 11 a.m. Sunday.

“Some floods develop slowly — oftentimes over a period of days,” read the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management webpage. “You should be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam … even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood.”

According to the NWS, the last time the river crested above 19 feet was in 2015. That was about a year after the Marshalltown portion of the river hit a peak of 22.25 feet on July 2, 2014.

At that time, the river soaked a large portion of Marshall County.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data, the rest of the top five Iowa River level peaks at Marshalltown include:

• 22.08 feet in May of 2013

• 21.79 feet in June of 2008

• 20.77 feet in August of 1993

• 20.64 feet in March of 1993

Rain pounded central Iowa for much of the past week but is not expected the rest of the week, according to the NWS. Thursday and Friday are expected to bring mostly cloudy conditions with highs in the low 70’s.

Saturday and Sunday are predicted to have mild weather, too. Saturday is set to be partly sunny with a high of 70 degrees, while Sunday is to be mostly sunny and 73 degrees.

The flood warning remains in effect despite the lack of rain forecasted for the next few days.

According to the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management site, it is important to exercise caution when an area is under risk of flooding. One tip is to avoid standing water while driving or walking and instead turn around and find an alternate route.

For more information on the Iowa River at Marshalltown, visit https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?gage=miwi4&wfo=dmx


Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com