Iowa Flood Center says new weather stations will help farmers and reduce flood risk

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SOUTH AMANA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Iowa Flood Center is deploying 20 new high-tech weather stations across Iowa this year.

This will help farmers and provide more in depth flash flood warnings. Stewart Maas said the new weather station on his property will help him grow better crops.

"The accuracy on some of this information is a lot better than what it was so I'm looking forward to it," said Maas, the owner of Maas Farms in South Amana.

The weather station provides data on rainfall, wind speed and direction, as well as soil moisture and temperature. Money for the stations comes from the state program Iowa Watershed Approach.

"It'll make me more comfortable on decisions that we make," said Maas.

Those decisions include when to plant seed or spray the fields. That information will help Mass and other farmers in the area. Researchers said this device and dozens of others across the state provide information for towns farther downstream.

"A raindrop that falls here is eventually going to work its way down into Coralville," said Jim Niemeier, a research engineer with the University of Iowa.

"It provides us, through this equipment, advanced notice so that we can be better prepared for those flash flood events," said John Lundell, the mayor of Coralville.

Lundell said the Clear Creek Amana watershed frequently floods during heavy rains. He said the weather station's real time information will help warn people as something happens.

"They just want to know ahead of time, the businesses especially need to know, what to expect and how bad the damage could be," said Lundell.

Maas said the device is already giving him confidence about this year's crops.

"The snowfall and everything else we've had this spring has really raised the water table up so that's really promising," said Maas.

The Iowa Flood Center hopes to install a weather station in each of Iowa's 99 counties. They currently have nearly 50 deployed. The information from the devices can be found at ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/app