River Flood Forecasts

Many of our rivers in eastern Iowa are rising.  Here are the latest flood warnings, and forecasts. (As of 9:30 PM Wednesday, September 5, 2018).  Fortunately, these will stay BELOW 2016 and 2008 levels.  To view an interactive map of the flood forecasts, click here.

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Posted under Flooding

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on September 5, 2018

More Heavy Rain

There is a wide spread area of rain exceeding 10″ in the last 30 days. The map does not include the rain from Monday.


Showers and storms taper off overnight. Tuesday morning into early afternoon we stay dry. Tuesday afternoon, showers and storms develop and will continue through the evening and overnight. Rain is on and off through most of Wednesday as well before ending during the late afternoon and evening. Thursday is Dry. Isolated storms are possible Friday, but the bigger concern would be the potential for more heavy rain this weekend. The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Tropical Storm Gordon making landfall Tuesday. The moisture from the storm could make it as far north as Iowa this weekend.

Here is a look at the potential rainfall through Monday evening. You can see where the heavy rain moves north and across Iowa.

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Posted under Flooding, Tropics

This post was written by Schnack on September 3, 2018

Local River Flooding

We’ve had a lot of heavy rain from Friday night through Sunday evening.  That has lead to the rise of area creeks and rivers.

Check out the Doppler Radar estimated rainfall totals in the last 48 hours (through 9 PM Sunday).

Many Flood Warnings are in effect.

The Cedar River at Cedar Falls is forecast to get close to Moderate Flood Stage.

The Iowa River at Marengo and Belle Plaine are also experiencing flooding.

The English River at Parnell:

North Skunk River near Sigourney:

The Big Bear Creek at Ladora is VERY CLOSE to breaking a record crest.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on this over the next few days.

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Posted under Flooding, Rivers

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on September 2, 2018

Iowa-Wisconsin Flooding of July 2007

Iowa is no stranger to flooding events. On July 17, 2007, storms tracked through northeast Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin.

Severe weather alerts were in place that evening into the early morning hours of July 18th. Large hail and severe winds were reported within those counties in the large yellow polygon.

Storm reports July 17-July 18, 2007. Green values represent hail reports while blue values represent wind reports.

Winds damaged trees in Dubuque and Clayton counties. In addition to the hail and wind experienced overnight, very heavy rain fell along the Iowa-Wisconsin border into the morning of the 18th.

National precipitation ending 6AM Central, July 18, 2007

 

Heavy rain near the Mississippi during the early morning of July 18, 2007

 

The rain caused flooding on the morning of the 18th in counties and towns close to the Mississippi where Iowa and Wisconsin meet. Marquette and McGregor in Clayton Co, Iowa and Bagley in Grant Co, Wisconsin were some of the hardest hit areas, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

More than 8 inches was reported in McGregor and Marquette. Prairie Du Chien had multiple reports of over 5 inches in Crawford Co, Wisconsin, with one report of more than 7 inches. 911 calls began coming in early in the morning in Grant Co, WI. Flooding and mudslides were seen in Iowa. The area near Bagley, Wisconsin experienced similar effects as well as sewage backup and power issues.

Flooding in Bagley, WI July 18, 2007

Mudslides July 18, 2007

When looking at the rain totals across the state of Iowa in that month, the heaviest amounts of rain were concentrated in counties closer to the Mississippi River.

Iowa rainfall July 2007

The highest rain totals in Iowa during August 2007 would be recorded in the northeastern part of the state.

Iowa rainfall August 2007

In fact, another flooding event occurred in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin in August 2007.

For more information on the July 17-18, 2007 flooding event, visit the NWS La Crosse event recap.

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Posted under Flooding, Severe Weather, Weather History

This post was written by Rachael Peart on July 18, 2018

River Flooding

A little unnerving given that this time 10 years ago, local rivers were reaching historic levels, but we are once again dealing with flooding an area rivers.  Fortunately, these will be nowhere near historic levels.

Rounds of heavy rain across northern Iowa over the last several days have sent the rivers on the rise.  Here are the latest flood warnings as of Sunday evening (6/10).

Some of the rivers have already reached their crest, and are beginning to fall.  Here are the latest forecasts for the rivers that have not reached their crest quite yet. This forecast takes into account rainfall expected through Monday night.

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Posted under Flooding

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on June 10, 2018

River Flood Warnings Continue

Recent heavy rainfall across northern Iowa have sent several local rivers into flood stage.  Minor to Moderate flooding is occurring along portions of the Cedar, Shell Rock, Turkey and Mississippi River.

Major flooding occurred on the Turkey River at Spillville Thursday night into Friday morning, but fortunately the flood waters have gone down in that area.

The Turkey River has already reached its crest and will now be falling.

The Shell Rock River at Shell Rock reaches its crest very soon, and will be falling later in the day Sunday.

The Cedar River at Cedar Falls is experiencing moderate flooding as of Saturday evening, and will rise about one more foot and crest Sunday afternoon.

In Waterloo, the Cedar River will be experiencing minor flooding Sunday.

Along the Mississippi River, minor to moderate flooding is occurring in the Dubuque area.  Upstream in near Guttenberg and Lansing, the river has reached its crest and is slowly falling.

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Posted under Flooding

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on May 5, 2018

Minor Flooding Possible on Mississippi River

April has been a relatively dry month for eastern Iowa, even with the snowfall we had at the beginning of the month.  Flooding is probably not on many of your minds.

However, recent snow melt from several rounds of heavy snow up in Minnesota has been melting, and spilling in to rivers and streams, including the Mississippi River.  All of that flows downstream, and will cause the Mississippi to rise in northeast Iowa over the next week.  Flood Warnings are out for Guttenberg, down to the Quad Cities.

 

While the river won’t get too high above the Flood Stage, it will slowly fall below later in the week.  It all depends on the rainfall to come Tuesday through Thursday.  The current flood forecasts only take into account precipitation in the next 24 hours, and we aren’t expecting any rain.

1-2″ of rain are possible over the next week, with locally higher amounts.

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Posted under Flooding

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on April 29, 2018

Friday: Flooding and Flash Flooding

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa ends today, but the important lessons continue. Today’s topics are Flooding and Flash Flooding.

There is a difference between “flooding” and “flash flooding”.  Both involve a lot of water, of course, where it shouldn’t be running.

Flooding usually occurs over a long stretch of time and can affect a very large area. The river floods of 1993 and 2008 are examples of “flooding”.

Flash floods are just as they sound… they happen in a flash! They typically occur over a relatively small area and can sometimes occur in a matter of minutes, and streams will usually be back within their banks within an hour or so.

Both are dangerous and should never be taken lightly.

If you were living in Iowa in 1993 or 2008, you remember the major flooding that occurred.

Downtown Cedar Rapids, 2008 photo taken by Iowa Civil Patrol

 

 

Coralville flooding in 2008- photo by U.S. Geological Survey

 

 

Union Pacific Railroad Bridge- photo Waterloo Courier via National Weather Service Des Moines

 

 

River flooding generally takes a lot of time to get to those levels. Saturated soil and heavy rainfall over many days will lead to flooding.

Flash flooding is much faster. In our area it is usually caused by a lot of rainfall in a short period of time. This causes rapid rises on creeks and streams which will then rush into rivers and work downstream in a sort of large wave of water.

 

 

It may only take 6 inches of fast-moving water to knock you off of your feet.

 

 

Never walk through flooded streets- manhole covers may no longer be there and you will drop under the water quickly.

Never drive through flooded roadways. As mentioned in the graphic above, it only takes a little bit of water to wash your car away. And, your road may no longer be there.

Highway 6 near the Cedar River at Atalissa, 2008- photo by Iowa Department of Transportation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never drive around barriers. They are there for a reason. Be very careful driving at night.

 

 

To learn more about flood safety in Iowa, click here.  The National Weather Service also provides a lot of information here.

 

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Posted under Education, Flooding, Rivers, Severe Weather

This post was written by Schnack on March 30, 2018

Flood Warning for Black Hawk Creek at Hudson

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Posted under Flooding, Rivers

This post was written by Schnack on February 28, 2018

Spring 2018 Flood Outlook

Hydrologists at the National Weather Service have issued their first flood outlook for the spring season.  Good news for those of us in eastern Iowa, there is a normal to below normal chance for flooding on our local rivers.

Several factors go into the flood outlooks.  Hydrologists look at current snow pack, both here and up north.  They look at the frost depth, potential ice jams, soil moisture, current river levels, drought conditions, and potential ice jams.

Stay with KWWL for further updates this spring, as periods of heavier rainfall could increase the potential for flooding.

To read much more about the flooding potential on the river near you, check out NWS La Crosse, NWS Des Moines and NWS Davenport’s write-ups.

This forecast is for the period of February through May.  The next outlook will be released March 1st.

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Posted under Flooding, Winter Weather

This post was written by Kyle Kiel on February 15, 2018