Rain prompts flood worries

As rain continues to douse the area, meteorologists are predicting flooding near the Mississippi River. And even though Marshall County is not supposed to see flooding, the heavy rains forecasted for the next couple days still warrants consideration.

Brad Fillbach, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines, said Marshalltown will see another 1 to 2 inches of rain over the next day or so in addition to the 1.2 inches recorded at the Marshalltown Airport as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Rivers will rise, but they will still be below flood stage,” he said. “Over time, it’s going to add up.”

The NWS is predicting flash flooding in other areas of the state, particularly to the southeast near the river.

Kim Elder, Marshall County emergency management director, said Marshall County is fortunate that populated areas are not typically near rivers, so flooding is minimal. However, she said roads still flood and citizens should avoid driving in those areas whenever possible.

“It ponds over the road,” she said. “Even though you are familiar with it water can be running faster beneath.”

Locally, the storm sewers are holding up pretty well in the wake of the rain, said Lynn Couch, Public Works director.

Although there had been no significant pooling as of Wednesday afternoon, Couch said the area of town where flooding has been a concern is on Madison Street between First and Second Avenue; road work on the street has corrected the problem. Overall, he said flooding should not be problematic unless rains are heavy.

“Gentle rains over a long time – our storm sewers can handle that,” he said. “We don’t design for short-duration, heavy rain.”

Alliant Energy issued a press release Wednesday urging citizens in areas where flooding occurs to exercise caution when dealing with utilities. The release cautions people to avoid walking through a flooded home, re-using appliances that have gotten wet and placing electronics near water. Anyone with standing water in their home who needs their gas or electricity turned off should call 888-255-4268.

Rain could turn to light snow by Friday, according to the NWS.

Elder said people should still keep their winter gear in their cars just in case they are stranded.

“Keep an eye to the sky,” she said. “It’s kind of a funny time of year.”