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Flooding, storms not too problematic

BY MICHAEL KADRIE | JULY 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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Rain is a part of life in the Midwest, and Iowa City has been able to weather the storm with relative ease.

The approximately 4 inches of rain was most problematic for Iowa City around 7 a.m. Sunday when parts of South Gilbert Street experienced flooding, said Iowa City Public Works Director Rick Fosse.

Major flooding from the Coralville Reservoir wasn’t a concern because the bulk of the storm was south of the watershed, he said.

“It didn’t make too big of a difference,” Fosse said.

This past weekend’s storm brought down several tree branches, as well as contributed to the flooding.

University of Iowa officials weren’t unduly concerned about the rainfall, either.

Whenever the Army Corps of Engineers anticipates large amounts of localized rainfall, officials are careful to lower the outflow of the Reservoir, said Dan Guckert, the UI associate vice president for Facilities Management.

Following a decrease in outflow over the weekend, the Corps raised the outflow back to its previous levels on Monday.

University officials aren’t set to release updated figures related to campus flooding until Friday, UI spokesman Tom Moore said.

Flood warnings will remain in effect for both Washington and Johnson Counties until July 20. The Iowa River at Iowa City stood at 24.57 feet as of 10 p.m. Monday. Flood stage is 22 feet.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities issued flood warnings for both Johnson and Washington Counties. Those warnings will stay in effect until July 20.

Officials expect the river level to fall to 23.1 feet Wednesday, then remain steady for several days.
Sump pumps were used to deal with accumulated water, with the only difficulty for workers being occasional blockage because of minor debris.

A sump pump provides protection from flooding to buildings and city structures.

Usually they are in specially constructed sump pits. Water flows into the sump pit through drains or by natural water migration through the soil before being pumped into away from the area designated for protection.

Iowa City wasn’t alone in its fight against flooding.

Coralville experienced similar problems in areas with temporary flood protection. In these areas pumps were also used, said Coralville city engineer Dan Holderness.

“We man them to make them run, and there wasn’t any damage done,” he said.

Although city officials worked toward clearing flooded areas, some businesses had to adapt on their own.

Despite inclement weather patterns, a number of local establishments remained open.

Opening shift manager Adam Carlson of Gumby’s Pizza, 702 S. Gilbert St., said unless a tornado watch is issued, the late-night restaurant staff do their best to stay open.

However, in situations where flooding appears imminent, they restrict their deliveries from traveling to certain areas of Iowa City prone to flooding, such as Foster Road, he said.

Carlson said the only noticeable change in the business’s routine is an obligatory increase in delivery times.

“Iowa City streets are notorious for backing up with water,” he said.


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