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Flooding Problems Move South to the Kalona Area

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KALONA, Iowa- Rapidly rising water overnight on the English River caught some people by surprise in and around the Kalona area on Friday.

The English River crested at 22.3 feet at Kalona during the day. City admintrator Ryan Schlabaugh said that was within an inch of the previous record crest set in 1993. But some long time residents along Highway 22 west of the city said it was actually the highest they'd ever seen.

Both Highway 1 south of Kalona and Highway 22 west towards Wellman remained closed most the day due to water over the roadway.
Highway 1 opened shortly after 4:00 p.m. Friday.

Mike Walker said he and his wife Ella went to bed Thursday night with a dry yard. They awoke to water lapping at their doorstep.

Walker said there was no warning the English River was going to overflow so quickly. He even put the dog outside for the night without a second thought.

"We realized the dog was in trouble (in the morning) and we had to go out and rescue him. The water was going up at our house until about an hour ago," Mike Walker said.

His wife Ella also didn't see any sign of trouble the night before.

"There was some water in the ditches where it had come down the street. But nothing in the yard," Ella Walker added.

The rapidly rising water caught more than just the Walkers by surprise. Several businesses along Highway 1 south were either cut off by high water or had water inside the buildings.

That was also the story west of Kalona along Highway 22 where water cut the road leaving about a half mile of debris on the roadway.

Several dozen homes, farms and businesses were also threatened by the water along Highway 22.

Long time area resident Norman Bontrager compared it to the flood of 1993.

"It went over Highway 22 where it is now in 1993, but it's way higher than it was that year," Bontrager said.

Mid Prairie Schools dismissed for the day because the water cut connecting highways. Residents said when the water goes down, the worst won't be over. That's when it's time for the cleanup.

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