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We'll Never Know How Much Damage Flash Floods Caused in Polk County

Karen Wendt, special to IPR

Cleanup continues in Polk County following this weekend’s heavy rains that caused flash flooding. Authorities say they may never know how many homes were damaged by the rapidly rising water.

Some spots in Polk County recorded more than nine inches of rain in less than four hours Saturday night. It sent Walnut Creek on Des Moines’ west side and Fourmile Creek on the city’s east side to record high levels. Homes and businesses throughout the county were seriously damaged by flooding. But Polk County Emergency Management Director A.J. Mumm says it’s difficult to determine an exact number.

“We have a lot of homes that may have a carpet they mopped up, that may have made their own repairs, so that number is certainly a moving target with this type of incident,” Mumm says.

Officials estimate more than 230 single-family homes and at least ten commercial properties were hit by fast-rising water near Fourmile Creek. Mumm says the number around Polk County is certain to be much higher.

“You may have a neighbor who has taken up their own carpet, disposed of it properly, replaced their own carpet and moved on, and those numbers never really get recorded in the system,” he says.

The weather forecast looks favorable for cleanup in Central Iowa. The National Weather Service predicts a mostly dry week.