Flood warnings were issued this week for the Des Moines river between Boone and Fort Dodge, the Cedar River at Waterloo, and the Mississippi along Lee, Louisa and Des Moines counties. Forecaster Rod Donavon at the National Weather Service says spring snowmelt started the problem. That saturated the ground and pushed river levels up to around bankful. Now, the latest round of rain with one to two inches across the area is starting to push the rivers up and over the flood stages once again.
A flood warning went out Monday for Stratford when remote sensing gauges told the forecasters the river there had risen higher than fourteen feet. There are satellite transmitters out there that send data to the weather office so they can monitor the readings hour by hour.
There are ten to fifteen gauges just on the length of the Des Moines River, hundreds on waterways across the state of Iowa. It’s a lot of information to pay attention to, but he says it helps them monitor for flood situations like this. While this year is about average for flooding, there’s more of it than in much of the last five years, which were drier than normal.