The National Weather Service calls it a “flash flood emergency” in parts of northeast Iowa.
Evacuations are underway in the community of Freeport. Officials say roads have been washed out and they are warning of mud slides in northeast Iowa.
Decorah has been inundated and school has been canceled. Nearly 8.5 inches of rain fell southeast of Decorah. More than 7 inches of rainfall was recorded at Decorah’s airport.
National Weather Service rainfall reports;
8.46 inches five miles outside of Decorah
7.19 inches at Decorah Municipal Airport
5.67 inches near Dorchester
5.03 inches in Elma
4.73 inches in Osage
4.31 inches in Bluffton
4.26 inches near Riceville
3.71 inches in New Hampton
3.22 in Charles City
The National Weather Service calls it a “particularly dangerous situation” and the magnitude of the flooding is “a potentially historic event.”
Dan Baumgardt at the National Weather Service office in La Crosse has been monitoring the area.
“Northeast Iowa was particularly hard hit by storms last night,” Baumgardt says. “We have anywhere from six to just over eight inches of measured rainfall in that area and so a couple of areas in Winneshiek County — the Spillville and Freeport communities — are particularly hard hit with some evacuations going on there.”
Baumgardt says a “moist air mass” moved into the area last night.
“Thunderstorms formed mostly over Minnesota and Iowa and it seemed to just localize and we saw repeat rounds of thunderstorms over that area near Decorah, Iowa,” Baumgardt says. “That gave them the six to eight inches of rain.”
Mud slides are also possible in some areas.
“For those counties, especially along the Mississippi River, there’s quite a bit of terrain there, about 600 feet of hilly area there and that area is particularly prone to mud slides when we start to get four to five to six inches of rain,” Baumgardt says. “So we have had some mud slides along the Mississippi River.”
Record flooding hit these northeast Iowa counties in 2008.
“We do think that most of the levels will stay below that historical level,” Baumgardt says. “But it’s certainly major flooding through that area.”
The Turkey River in Spillville hit record levels this morning.
Photo courtesy of the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Facebook page.