Over 10 inches of rain fell in portions of the Dubuque area overnight, with city officials in Dubuque reporting more than a foot of water fell in some places.
The Julien Dubuque Bridge over the Mississippi River is closed and Highway 151 has been closed near Cascade as water is over both lanes of the road.
Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol held a news briefing this morning, which was broadcast live on KCRG Television. “Obviously, this is a record-breaking storm,” Buol said.
Dubuque Fire Chief Dan Brown said his crews were busy overnight with two “significant” fires, at a house and a restaurant, as well as numerous lightning strikes. One bolt “knocked off” a section of an apartment building, according to the fire chief.
“We did call in all personnel, the first time in my career that I remember that we’ve called all hands and that’s what we did last night,” Brown said. “That order went out almost immediately when we saw the magnitude of this event.”
Fire fighters also rescued a few Dubuque residents from flooding homes. Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing says most of the city streets that were closed last night due to flooding were reopened by mid-morning.
“One of the biggest draws of our resources last night was stranded motorists and cars that were getting struck in the waters, trying to sneak through swollen roadways,” Dalsing says. “In fact, officers had to wade in, waist-deep, and carry some people off the hoods of their car to get ’em out of there.”
Dubuque Public Works director Don Vogt says his crews are busy picking up debris and finding manhole covers to make the city streets passable.
“The reports of rainfall are anywhere from 10 to 15 inches,” he said. “So it wasn’t good anywhere.”
Vogt’s crews are also closing the city’s flood wall along the Mississippi.
“The river’s gone up over two-and-a-half feet since yesterday. It’s supposed to go up another two feet today,” Vogt said. “Hoping the river doesn’t go much more than the 18-feet being forecasted and then, of course, making preparations for the next round of rainfall.”
The National Weather Service reports 10.36 inches of rain fell in the past 24 hours at the Dubuque airport. A record rainfall total nearly seven-and-a-half inches for Wedesday alone set a new record for Dubque. The old record, of just over three-inches, was set in 1896.
The Jo Davies County Courthouse just across the border in Illinois is closed this morning, due to the rain, and some residents of East Dubuque, Illinois, were evacuated.
Reports along the Maquoketa River indicate some livestock were swept away in flash-flooding.