Iowa River falls, roads reopening

People continued to walk past the road closed sign on Highway 14 Thursday morning to see the Iowa River take over the lanes after it crested to 22.25 feet, however the water is rapidly decreasing.

Kim Elder, Marshall County Emergency Management director, said the Iowa River lowered to 19.58 feet Thursday morning and Highway 14 north of Marshalltown was close to reopening as of Thursday night.

“It’s going down fairly quickly,” Elder said.

Roads are gradually opening back up. Highway 330 south of Albion, North Center Street Road, Zeller Avenue,148th Street, Prairie Avenue and Stanley Mill Road opened Thursday.

“When the water gets off the roads, road crews will have to inspect and make sure everything is safe before the roads open,” Elder said. “I know people are anxious to get back on the roads, but we need to make sure they are safe first. Patience is key.”

In the next few days, Elder said she expects the other roads will open, if there is not a lot of damage. Ultimately the county secondary roads department and the DOT make the decision to open the roads.

Residents of Marshalltown are eager for the roads to open.

Mackenzie Buchwald, 18, of Marshalltown and Jayden Blue, 14, of Melbourne, walked through the water on Highway 14, which is not advised.

“It was hard to walk in,” Buchwald said. “It’s about a mile. It took an hour to walk.”

Buchwald lives on Taylor Avenue. She said it takes her 45 minutes to get to work because she has to go through Garwin.

Conner Lynch, 9, of Grundy Center, watched the water on Highway 14 with his grandmother.

“It looks just like last year,” Lynch said. “Everything is flooded. It takes me longer to go to my grandma’s house. I have to wake up earlier.”

The National Weather Service and Elder spent Wednesday surveying the northwestern and northcentral parts of Marshall County.

The surveys determined wind was at 100 miles per hour in some areas Monday. The strongest winds were located between 120th and Marsh Avenue in the Durham Avenue vicinity, Elder said.

Winds persisted through north central Marshall County through Marble Road and Prairie Avenue at 90 miles per hour. These winds caused damage along Zearing, north of St. Anthony, Bangor and Liscomb, Elder said.

Towns with tree, crop, house, power lines and shed damages were in many areas throughout the northern half of Marshall County including Clemons, Albion and other rural areas, Elder said. Conrad in Grundy County also was heavily damaged.

Gov. Terry Branstad issued a proclamation of disaster emergency on Thursday in response to the ongoing flooding and severe weather in Marshall County.

The proclamation activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Program that provides grants up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $39,580, for a family of three.

Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food and for the expense of temporary housing.

The grant application is available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website.

Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.