Central City Preparing for Record Flooding

By Lee Hermiston & Jill Kasparie, Reporters

CENTRAL CITY, Iowa - Preparations continue as the Linn County community of Central City awaits the crest of the rising Wapsipinicon River.

Central City Fire Chief James O'Leary said the city is preparing for record with the Wapsipinicon River expected to reach never before seen levels.

O'Leary said the river has previously reached a record level of 22.1 feet. However, he said Wednesday morning that the Linn County Emergency Management Agency has warned him that the river could go one to three feet above that level.

"If we get above that number, now we're in a territory where we don't know (what's going to happen)," he said. "We've never been to this level before."

O'Leary said the city has not had any flooding problems yet, but reinforcements are being lined up to prepare for flooding. O'Leary said the Iowa Department of Transportation has delivered thousands of them from Iowa City after their flooding earlier this month.

Flooding typically occurs when the river hits 18 feet. The city is not considering mandatory evacuations at this time. "Right now, we're not moving anybody until we know what's going to happen," he said.

People across town are loading up sandbags to protect their homes.
Central City's Fire Chief James

"We are basically just in prep mode, because right now we have no idea what will happen," Chief O'Leary said.

The city doesn't have an official National Weather Service Flood guage to track the river. They do, however, have a gauge they use to tell how high the river is. O'Leary said his crew was predicting the river could reach 22 feet..

At this point firefighters know, all they can do is keep working to keep everyone in the city safe. "That's our biggest thing. We don't want anybody hurt," said Chief O'Leary

City leaders expect the Wapsipinicon to crest sometime on Thursday.
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