Johnson County Emergency Management director, Dave Wilson, says while many basements were flooded following heavy rains, they were able to avoid flood damage to major infrastructure. Wilson says heavy amounts of rain overnight caused problems county wide.
“There was a gauge at the city of North Liberty that reported 8.2 inches — 8.28 to be exact — in the city of North Liberty for a 24-hour rainfall. And that was the worst the public works director at the city of North Liberty had seen since the 70’s,” Wilson says. “Probably a new record rainfall for them at North Liberty for that gauge.” Wilson says Solon was concerned about the rapidly rising waters overtaking their wasterwater plant, so the county sent them a pump.
“Luckily they never lost their wastewater plant, they were able to protect that and are out of the woods now,” Wilson says. Wilson says the Corps of Engineers took action at seven this morning to reduce the flow out of Corralville Lake.
“Luckily the lake had plenty of storage capacity at 679 feet above sea level,” Wilson says. “They’ve decreased their outflow to allow the creeks below the dame to drain out, because below the dam there is no flood control measures, so it is really dependent on decreasing the outflow from the reservoir.” Wilson says there are good things and bad things about cutting back the flow out at the lake.
“That allows everything downstream to kind of run off and drain. The bad news side of it is it makes the lake level jump up substantially as upstream inflows that are fairly high,” according to Wilson. He says the Corps plans to keep the flow levels down until May first to allow the extra water to flow off downstream. Wilson says a lot of people will have to clean up flooded homes.
“We did have flooding in some low-lying areas…the places that were affected are kind of numerous and throughout the county, they’re not just in one area. A lot of those places are places that are frequently affected by flash flooding, there are some areas that are new that got some water in their basements as well,” Wilson says.
He says the forecast is calling for the rain to let up, which should allow things to dry out.