Flood Waters Could Top 2008 Record in Anamosa

By Stacey Murray, Anamosa Journal Eureka

ANAMOSA, Iowa - Jones County officials fear the Wapsipinicon River will rise to a record 27 feet on Friday, 10 inches higher than the floods of 2008.

The current record was set when the river reached 26.2 feet in 2008; flood stage is 14 feet. In 2008, a levee broke from the pressure of high waters leading to flooding of the surrounding Anamosa area.

As of noon on Wednesday, the Wapsipinicon River in Anamosa is at 16 feet and rising.

According to the National Weather Service, areas of Jones County have received anywhere from 1-6 inches of rain within the last 24 hours.

The Jones County Board of Supervisors called an emergency session Wednesday morning to consider approval of a local disaster declaration due to expected flood levels on the Wapsipinicon River within the next 24 hours.

A declaration would grant Jones County access to state resources to assist with emergency efforts. Jones County Officials have called for more sandbags for Anamosa, and prisoners from the Anamosa State Penitentiary will be filling them.

Sandbags have been delivered to all communities in Jones County. Rural residents are encouraged to go to the closest town to obtain them.

Jones County Board of Supervisors preemptively declared a local disaster declaration. Previous declarations include 2008, 2010 and floods from three weeks ago.

In a community meeting of volunteers, procedures were outlined for the upcoming days. Volunteers are to go door-to-door in Oxford Junction to warn people of rising river levels. Leaders were reminded to make sure volunteers are following appropriate safety measures.

Jones County Emergency Management Director Brenda Leonard asked local officials to document the river and damage as it occurs for future use to obtain Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

Unlike 2008, this incident is more isolated to Jones County, allowing surrounding counties to provide support.

The City of Anamosa is creating a newsletter with daily updates to keep people informed of flood conditions. The newsletter will be posted in common community areas, such as the Lawrence Community Center.

The Riverside Cemetery gates have been closed as a safety precaution to prevent residents from entering flooded areas.

City and county officials ask that residents do not go to area affected by flooding in Anamosa, Olin, Oxford Junction, Wyoming and rural Jones County unless absolutely necessary.

County Road E-34 south of Anamosa is closed across the Wapsipinicon River.

Buffalo Road west of Anamosa is closed due to flooding.

Walworth Avenue in Anamosa is closed to all traffic.

Other roads leading to or crossing the Wapsipinicon River and its tributary creeks may be closed.

The river gauge in Independence are watched closely as an indicator for Anamosa river levels with roughly a 48 hour delay.

As of noon on Wednesday, the Wapsipinicon River was at 12.27 feet in Independence where the flood level is 11 feet. It is projected to hit 22 feet later Wednesday. It was previously predicted to crest at 24 feet.

The Maquoketa River in Manchester was measured at 12.1 feet and declining midday. It is projected to hit 20.6 feet in Maquoketa around 8 a.m. on Thursday. Flood stage is 24 feet.
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