Johnson Co. Issues Disaster Declaration Following Flash Flooding

Sandbagging underway in Solon. (BRIAN RAY/KCRG-THE GAZETTE)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Heavy rain caused flash flooding across southeastern Iowa on Wednesday, leading to an "emergency" declaration in Johnson County.

1-3" of rain fell across areas along and south of Highway 30 according to Meteorologist Joe Winters.

Johnson County Emergency Management Coordinator Dave Wilson told KCRG.com that his office issued a county emergency disaster declaration. The order allows county resources to be used by communities in Johnson County. Wilson said that they are especially concerned about the situation in Solon and it's waste water treatment plant. The plant is near a creek and additional heavy rain is expected.

Local creeks began to rise late Wednesday morning. Officials in Solon began asking volunteers to help with sandbagging efforts just after 12 p.m.

In Coralville and Iowa City, several roads were closed due flash flooding. Roads were reopened Wednesday afternoon. Minor street flooding North Dubuque Street in North Liberty.

Other reports indicated flooding in the Meadowbrook trailer court in Kalona, and along Ninth Avenue near Third Street in Wellman. Ralston Creek in Iowa City, Buffalo Creek near Tiffin, the Clear Creek tributary near Homestead and Clear Creek near Homestead all caused minor to moderate flooding.

Meteorologist Justin Gehrts said the rain will continue through the afternoon and could lead to additional flash flooding.

Cedar Rapids' updated flood-response plan has swung into action with Wednesday’s pounding rain. The city has brought out pumps for emergency pumping should reports of basement backups occur. Those pumps have been moved to the Sun Valley neighborhood along Indian Creek, which has been a spot of flash flooding in recent years, Hanson said.

At the same time, he said city crews have loaded 246 tiger dams on to trailers for quick deployment should they be needed in Sun Valley or elsewhere in the city. Once in place, the tiger dams are filled with water and connected side by side to provide a few feet of temporary flood protection.

Hanson said the work with the tiger dams is part practice to see how long it takes to get the equipment ready to put in place. He said the city also is monitoring the creek-flow sensor for Indian Creek. By week’s end, he said the city also may see some water from the Cedar River in low-lying areas around Ellis Park.

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