The Iowa Flood Center has completed new, flood-predicting maps for some of the major cities in Iowa that were struck by flooding in 2008, with a target of having similar maps completed for most of the state in four years. 

Larry Weber, director of the University of Iowa’s hydroscience and engineering program, says the city maps show potential “flood boundaries” based on a variety of factors, like rainfall and ground saturation. 

“We began the work on the flood inundation map libraries in eastern Iowa, priniciply in the Iowa and Cedar River watersheds. We’ve completed those projects in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids,  Cedar Falls, Charles City and working closely with other communities,” Weber says. “Here in central Iowa, we’re happy to report today that the maps for the City of Des Moines are now available.”

Weber and staff from the Iowa Flood Center held a news conference at the statehouse to demonstrate the new maps for Iowa’s largest city.  Iowa Flood Center director Witold Krajewski says they’ve used “Google” maps, so you can check out how a potential flood would impact your own home or business.

“And if you know that the flood stage is 23 feet, you can see what would be the impact in terms of inundation,” he says.  You can find these maps online at

“We hope that these maps will be useful to the people of the city both for planning purposes as well as decision-making,” Krajewski says. 

Officials say if Iowans can see how a so-called “100 year flood” might swamp their home by viewing these maps, those residents might be more inclined to buy flood insurance and make other preparations. 

The Iowa Flood Center is the only state-funded center of its kind.  A $10 million state appropriation is financing the four-year-long project to develop these flood-predicting maps for most of the state.  In addition, the center has an annual operating budget of about $1.3 million.