A key state official says the flash flooding that has hit the state this year should convince all Iowans to buy flood insurance. David Miller is administrator of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management division.
“Earlier in the year the lieutenant governor and I were in Clarion to look at flood damage there and the important part that stood out about Clarion is there was not a river nearby,” Miller says. “It wasn’t river flooding. It was flash flooding and runoff.”
Miller suggests Iowans who don’t live in or near a flood plain have a false sense of security if they believe a flash flood can’t reach their property. “You do need to worry,” Miller says. “What we’re seeing is almost anybody can be affected by flooding and it’s why we’ve been really promoting involvement and joining in the National Flood Insurance Program.”
The torrential rains which hit Iowa in the past week have caused major flood problems in cities in Ames, which is near the confluence of Squaw Creek and the Skunk River. But other cities and towns are flooding now, too, and the water isn’t flowing in from a river. Miller says water is being pumped out of the small Boone County town of Luther, for example.
“It’s ponded water because the ground is saturated. Now think of that: they are moving four million gallons of water that is ponded in that community. It doesn’t have anything to do with riverine flooding,” Miller says. “…It tells people that they really need to look at flood insurance.” Governor Culver says the “new normal” in Iowa appears to be “unprecedented” flooding.
“In Ames, this is worse than ’93 and so anything that we can do in terms of flood mitigation, flood prevention — we need to make that a priority here at the capitol,” Culver says. Some of the flooding has abated, as Interstate 35 was reopened just south of Ames after being shut-down to traffic for about 24 hours.
But officials are keeping an eye on Interstate 80 in the area between Mitchellville and Colfax as water has now come up on the roadway. The state’s public safety commissioner says a car can be swept away in about six inches of water.