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Weather Service Increases Certain Flood Stages On Iowa River

National Weather Service officials are revising some flood stage categories at points along the Iowa River. The changes are meant to reflect greater shifts in the watershed.

The National Weather Service is raising certain flood stage categories along parts of the Iowa River. The revisions are intended to ensure flood warnings better reflect the impacts communities are seeing on the ground.

The Weather Service is raising the flood stages at Marengo, Iowa City, Lone Tree, Columbus Junction, Wapello and Oakville.

Staffers say the updates are due to land use changes, variations in river flow, and the demolition of buildings that were in the flood zone. The National Weather Service's Rich Kinney says input from local officials also spurred the changes.

“Through that coordination process, kind of arrived at the conclusion that the impacts really weren’t taking place until the river was at a higher stage, based on some of our recent flood events. So that really prompted the re-evaluation,” Kinney said.

As the watershed shifts over time, Kinney says flood warnings should be fine-tuned to match community impacts.

“We don’t want to warn people about flooding that really is not impacting anything. So these adjustments really are to make our flood warnings really more effective, and affect…and reflect the reality,” he said.

The changes will go into effect oncecurrent high water levels drop back down.

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter