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Turkey river in Elkader crests at nearly 23 feet, community sees minimal damage

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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ELKADER, Iowa (KCRG) - The Turkey River rose to its fourth-highest crest in history, coming in at nearly 23 feet Monday morning in Elkader. Flood stage is at 12 feet.

From 4:30 p.m. on Sunday evening to 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, Turkey River went from 15 feet to that 23-foot crest. Since it crested, it has slowly started to go back down again.

In that same time, Elkader Mayor Josh Pope and other volunteers were working nonstop to prepare for potential flooding. They set up barriers to hold back the water, but didn’t fill them until Monday.

“We were just waiting to see, because it was coming up very slowly at that point. About 2 o’clock in the morning we started filling up the barriers which was perfect because everybody’s sleeping in town,” Pope said.

Current volunteer and former Fire Chief Mike Anderson said damage was minimal for some and nonexistent for others.

“Unfortunately too many of us here have had quite a few of these that we’ve gone through and we kind of know what to expect. 20 foot isn’t a huge deal to us anymore,” Anderson said.

Anderson said people around the river know how to prepare for something like this.

“And a few people have learned not to put anything in their basements of any real value,” Anderson said.

Pope said it will be about two days before the river is low enough for them to tear everything down.

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