Major flooding in the Illinois Quad City area is forcing people out of their homes. A near-six-mile long ice jam on the Rock River has forced evacuations of the Illinois Quad City-area town of Cleveland and parts of Osborn. Wanda Powell, of Cleveland, says it’s a mess. Powell says the ice-jam has left water in houses. Paul Sereg, the Illinois Emergency Management coordinator, says a program is on going to buy up flood-prone properties. Iowa climatologist Harry Hillaker says concerns are growing about floods all across the Hawkeye State. Hillaker says around two-thirds of Iowa, particularly in the north-central part of the state, have a tremendous amount of water stored in the snow packs. That snow cover has been keeping many Iowans from seeing their lawns since early December, and for some, the snow cover has lasted since November 7th. Hillaker says the potential for flooding is based on many factors, including additional rain, ice jams, and warm weather. He says the packed snow and ice that’s more than four inches thick in parts of northern Iowa -could- create flooding problems along several rivers, including the Cedar, Des Moines and Iowa. Some of Iowa’s counties still face drought conditions, but State Emergency Management Director Ellen Gordon says north central and northeast Iowa may have flooding this spring. Gordon says some western Iowa counties are still too dry. For example, Carroll County’s precipitation level is 11 inches below normal for the past 12 months, and shallow wells may be affected.
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