New Hartford Floods, Braces for More

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

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By Adam Carros

NEW HARTFORD, Iowa - People in the town of New Hartford are working to prevent flood waters from filling the city.

Throughout the day Monday, water from Beaver Creek threatened homes and buildings. Late Monday night emergency officials said Beaver Creek water levels were slowly dropping. People living in New Hartford know, however, that the worrying isn't over becuase there's a lot of rain in the forecast this week.

“With the more rain that’s coming, it’s going to get flooded even more,” said Chad Faichney.

Chad Faichney lives in Waterloo, but he spent the day sandbagging his friend’s building in downtown New Hartford. They also moved some belongings out, just in case.

“I just hope and pray that the town gets through this, and it doesn’t flood like ’08,” Faichney said.

Dozens of volunteers spent the day sandbagging. They rushed to tie up thousands of them as they watched water creep closer to buildings like the elementary school. Emergency crews estimate 8,000 sandbags went out throughout town.

Volunteers placed them against businesses, school buildings and city buildings to keep out any water that might come close. As of Monday night, there was no report of any water flooding local buildings.

Some people spent hours working to help the city fight the waters of the creek.

"It’s all worth it just to know our town is going to be safe and we’re doing as much as we can to help out,” said Volunteer Carrie Grassley.

Butler County Emergency Management Director Mitch Nordmeyer said a few people left town after emergency teams issued three Code Red Alerts for voluntary evacuations. Most people, however, decided not to leave home.

"Everyone else is kind of sticking around, moving things to higher ground, hoping the water doesn’t come flowing down the street and at this point we’re pretty lucky,” Nordmeyer said.

Nordmeyer said it isn’t smooth sailing just yet. He’ll be among many keeping a close eye on a country road west of town throughout the night. The road acts as a natural levee, and it’s holding back a lot of water.

“If that chunk of road that’s still holding would let go, we’d have about an hour to get everybody out of here and you’d see water flowing down the street,” Nordmeyer said.

The Dike-New Hartford Community School District announced that it would be starting school two hours late tomorrow due to the flooding. Buses are running where possible in New Hartford and will be on regular routes in Dike.

City Emergency crews also noted that the shelter that the Red Cross opened up early on Monday has closed for the night. The few people that spent time there have moved to hotels or have found a place to stay with family members. Nordmeyer said they would still use it as a standby shelter location if flooding continues.

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