The administrator of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division says the state is working closely with local and county officials as they battle flooding. The governor has issued state disaster proclamations for 6 more counties, making a total of 30 counties.
Division administrator Mark Schouten says that allows the state to send various types of help. “Including pumps and barricades and sandbags or plastic sheeting to be used to reinforce levies, bottled water, personnel to transport equipment and water, a number different resources along those lines that have gone out to the far reaches of the state in order to assist local authorities and local personnel in fighting these floods,” Schouten says.
He says they are particularly keeping a close eye on the Coralville Reservoir where the water is expected to top the spillway sometime next week. “The Corps is working closely with local emergency management, the University of Iowa, the city of Iowa City and Coralville personnel to decide just how high the discharge rate should be — how much water can that dam discharge — while at the same time it’s bringing in more water from the basin that lies to the north of it,” according to Schouten.
“That’s perhaps at this moment the most precarious situation where we’re watching that quite carefully.” The water last went over the spillway there in 2008 and there was widespread flooding. Schouten says the study of the problems in 2008 and the subsequent recovery should be helpful this time.
“I think there’ve been a lot of lessons that were learned from 2008, a lot of mitigation efforts that took place since 2008, and a lot of experience learned through that disaster that is being applied to this one here,” Schouten says. While the state has sent out various help to the communities, Schouten says the Iowa National Guard has not yet been activated.
“They’re certainly leaning forward, they’re watching this situation carefully,” Schouten explains. “It depends on what the weather does, if we should get more rain over the next week or so, that certainly changes the calculus, changes whether or not they will be involved in fighting this disaster or not. At this moment, they are not activated.”
Schouten is hopeful the flooding will not reach the level that requires the National Guard to be activated to help.