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Floods sweep through Marshalltown

May 27, 2013
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer (dalexander@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

Rain pelted Marshall County throughout Sunday, creating flash floods that left a few motorists waiting for emergency responders while their cars floated in once-drivable areas.

Police closed Highway 14 near the Iowa River bridge due to flooding Sunday evening.

Kim Elder, Marshall County emergency manager, said floods also closed Highways 146, and Highway 330/Marsh Avenue south of Albion is close to being closed too.

Article Photos

T-R PHOTO BY DAVID ALEXANDER
Highway 14 north of Marshalltown is shown here flooded over Sunday evening. Police closed the road due to flash floods dousing the Marshalltown area throughout Sunday.

"Any place that has a little dip in the road-a ditch or river-there is extensive flooding," Elder said. "It's not just a little water over the road. Bridges have been washed away from the road."

According to the National Weather Service, Marshall County's average rainfall since noon Sunday was between 6 and 8 inches. Some areas saw more than 10 inches of rain, and the NWS expects another 4 inches of rain into Monday with the heaviest rainfall coming around 7 p.m. Sunday. Hail is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Elder said waters trapped a few motorists in their cars; she urged those driving to avoid flooded areas instead of trying to drive through them.

Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said although the police department responded to a few calls of people trapped in their cars, none of those people officers assisted needed medical attention. Flooded areas can be more treacherous than they might initially seem.

"Thankfully we haven't any critical incidents, and no one has been injured up to this point," Tupper said. "Sometimes the current can be pretty swift, and sometimes the ground can be pretty soft underneath. It's not a safe thing to do."

Areas near 12th and 18th Avenues are particularly bad, Tupper added.

Marshall County Sheriff Ted Kamatchus said his deputies call him with any serious incidents, but they had not done so as of Sunday evening.

Elder said the flooding has not been declared an official disaster, so home owners will have to fend for themselves as far as flood damage goes. However, she encouraged home owners to keep receipts and notes in case the flooding is declared an emergency later.

Several areas of town had trash pumps near the roadside to divert water from areas where the sanitary sewer system was unable to process the influx of water.

Steve Sincox, general manager of the Marshalltown Water Works, said the water works is processing drinking water normally because of strong preparation to get the wells up to the 100 year flood plain.

The river has risen between 6 and 7 feet in the past 24 hours, according to the NWS. The NWS predicts that the river, which stood around 20 feet Sunday evening, will peak at 21.2 feet.

Sincox said in 2008, the river rose to 21.8 feet and the system was still able to handle the increased flow. Such levels are not considered 100 year flood levels.

"Because of those efforts we are sitting pretty comfortable right now," Sincox said. "The only challenge is if the water comes over North Center Street that will start to affect abilities to get deliveries for chemicals."

However, the water works has a month supply of chemicals, he said.

A call to the water pollution control plant went unreturned at press time.

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