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Floodwaters rise again

BY REBECCA MORIN | JULY 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Johnson County isn’t out of the waters just yet.

This past weekend, two separate flood warnings were issued for the county.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for both Johnson and Washington Counties. The warning will stay in effect until July 20.

As of Sunday at 10 p.m. Sunday, the river at Iowa City was measured at 24.36 feet, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Flood stage for the river in Iowa City is 22 feet.

Officials expect river to rise to 24.9 feet by this morning, but they predict the river will fall below the flood stage by July 20. The warning said moderate flooding was occurring.

When floodwaters reach 25 feet, flooding starts to occur in Coralville, as well as on the CRANDIC rail line.

The university has kept the 12-foot HESCO barriers up around Mayflower, as well as the 4-foot barriers along the east and west banks of the Iowa River.

“We are in the midst of the third major flood in six years, and I think that’s a significant subject to keep on the table,” University of Iowa President Sally Mason said last week at a press availability. “I have to say I continue to be amazed and pleased by the response of the people on this campus in regards to the natural disasters we are experiencing on a more regular basis than any of us would like.”

On July 12, the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities issued a flash-flood warning for Johnson County and Iowa City. A tornado warning was also issued.

Approximately 4 inches of rain fell on July 12.

Last week, the Coralville Reservoir peaked at 708.2 feet. Two weeks ago, Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for Johnson County in response to the initial flooding and severe weather.

With the river being higher this year than it was last year, Mason said she is anxious to see how the Beckwith Boathouse took on water. The building was built to flood, Mason said.

“For me, the anticipation is that all of the projects, all of the flood-mitigation projects that are currently underway should be completed by next summer,” Mason said. “So through a third event, another one, actually it would be the fourth flood in seven years, if we had another one next summer, but we would be far better prepared to handle it going forward on a permanent basis.”


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