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Flooding Closes State Parks

Flooding in downtown Cedar Rapids in 2008

Earlier this week, a levee broke in Rock Valley, Iowa, flooding several homes and businesses. Yesterday Sioux City residents flew into action sandbagging along the river.

Early this morning, around 6 o'clock, the Big Sioux crested lower than expected. Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Clark says he breathed a sigh of relief; it had been predicted that the river might crest at a record setting level. “There were lots of people out sandbagging yesterday, and we had to extend a levee. We were glad to see it crested early this morning, and we were glad to see the water level about 4 feet below what we thought it was going to be.”

Western Iowans aren’t the only ones who have been dealing with flooding this week. There are several state parks around the state that have closed off parts of their grounds due to flood waters. Black Hawk County State Park will remain closed through Tuesday. The main road through Dolliver State Park in Webster County is under water, and the campground and family cabins are closed. The east, west, and north entrances of Backbone State Park in Delaware County have been closed until further notice, and there are portions of Ledges State Park that are flooded as well.

 Witold Kajewski, Director of the Iowa Flood Center, says right now we’re walking a fine line when it comes to rainfall. “Last year, in Eastern Iowa we were one big storm away from a repeat of 2008. This year, it’s beginning to look similar, but the large reservoirs in Coralville and Saylorville have quite a bit of capacity.”

Clark and Kajewski talk with Emily Woodbury during this “Talk of Iowa” interview about flooding around the state and if we’re getting any better and handling flood waters. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer