Cleanup begins in Iowa after flooding

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Charles City, Iowa, residents and business owners could finally get into flooded areas Wednesday to start the messy cleanup and recovery process after heavy rain.

The bad news, however, is that more rain — some possibly heavy at times — was forecasted for through the end of the week. That could compound the cleanup effort, not to mention bring the still-swollen Cedar River spilling outward again.

The Cedar River in Charles City dropped significantly over night on Monday and throughout the day Tuesday, following record flooding in town and elsewhere.

“We’ll be leaving our sandbags in place through the weekend,” commented Charles City Administrator Tom Brownlow.

After cresting around noon Monday at a reported 25.3 feet — well above the previous record of 22.81 feet set in 1999 — the river level had fallen to under 20 feet by 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and was at 15.95 feet at 6:30 p.m. that evening.

Floyd County Emergency Management Director Bridget Moe reported a preliminary damage assessment was being done Tuesday.

Moe says it’s important to be prepared in the event of more flooding.

“We’re just asking people to leave their sandbags in place until the weekend,” Moe said. “We know that we’re still at a volatile state with the river not going down. It’s taking its time, and that’s what we expected of it.”

The Cedar River was 15.95 feet deep at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, still above the 12-foot flood stage.

If the forecast for rain proves to be right, Moe said she expects the river level to rise again, though she said it’s impossible to know exactly how much.

“We already have a weakened system because of a monumental flood,” she said.

Problems in Floyd County caused by recent floods and severe weather echo similar issues throughout the region in a spring time that has brought unusually damaging weather. Currently, 44 Iowa counties have been declared by Gov. Chet Culver as disaster areas. In Floyd Co. alone, over 1,000 homes have been directly affected by river flooding.

The devastation has prompted an outpouring of support from local volunteers, organizations and state agencies. Local officials are asking for more volunteers. Anyone willing to volunteer time to assist in the city-wide clean up effort can call the Charles City Police Department at (641) 228-3366.