Shell Rock Officials Watching Water Levels Closely

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

SHELL ROCK, Iowa - Friday the Shell Rock River saw minor flooding, swelling to 14.9 feet. That's almost a foot and a half above flood stage and three feet shy of moderate flooding.

The rushing waters were a spectacle for some, who said the river looked to be its highest since 2008. "The river has come up quite a bit. Our steps that we have in the back, there's probably about 15 to go down to the river, and we're up to the last step," said Matt Cox.

Flooding had closed at least two roads in Shell Rock and had started sinking feet of river front property. Homeowners said it was making them feel uneasy. "I hope that I got the right flood insurance," said Adam Neal.

Water was getting really close to Neal's garage. By late Friday afternoon it was almost surrounded. He moved the stuff inside; kayaks, a golf cart, and lawnmower, to higher ground. This is the fifth time he had taken flooding precautions since moving in just three months ago.

"Well, I figured that I'd have lots of fires and a big back yard, but most of the summer it's been nothing but water," said Neal.

Forecasts show water is expected to drop below minor flood levels by Saturday morning. Officials will be watching the situation closely, though. Heavy rains are expected to bring an inch or more through the weekend. With soil already saturated, flash flooding is a potential.

"If the river starts going up or we think there are areas that need sandbags, we'll get them to those individuals who need them at that time," said Shell Rock Police Chief Lou Staudt.

The Shell Rock flows into the Cedar River and that has officials in Cedar Rapids monitoring water levels, too. In a press release they said Monday the Cedar River is expected to crest at less than 12 feet. That's below flood stage. Officials said the estimated crest could rise or fall depending on weekend rain totals up river. They warned high water could close Otis Road SE and parks by Robins Lake on Ellis Road NW.
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