Online Tool Could Help Plan for Widespread Flooding

By Brady Smith, KCRG-TV9

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Steve Jochimsen set up camp at Coralville Lake on Thursday night, but by Saturday morning, he was waiting for the rain to clear up.

“It looked like on the radar, hopefully by 2 or 3 this afternoon it’ll be a little bit drier,” Jochimsen told us.

He was enjoying this long weekend with family and friends, but only a few days ago, they were still unsure if they’d be able to come here.

“There was a little bit of nervousness of whether we’d be able to come down here, or have to worry about flooding at home.”

IIHR director Larry Weber hopes an online tool accessed through the Iowa Flood Center website will keep taking the guesswork out of planning during widespread flooding, the kind many Eastern Iowans dealt with over the last week.

Weber said Saturday it can give people a real-time look at where flooding will happen, based on current forecasts.

With flood inundation maps built directly onto Google Maps, it’s an easy-to-understand view of how close floodwater will get to your favorite campground, or your front door.

“This is probably one of the most beneficial individual resident or business owner pieces of information we can provide,” Weber told us.

Weber has seen traffic on this site rise in recent weeks, but he says it’s still evolving as the Flood Center adds more communities to the list of existing cities it covers.

“We get a lot of information back from community leaders, planners, folks that are really fighting the fight at a larger level, and then we have just kind of pockets of individuals out there,” Weber said.

“We still remain a very scientific organization doing high-end work, and we continue to try to provide information to the public that they want.”

If you want to access the online tool, visit: http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/main/

l Comments: brady.smith@kcrg.com

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