Communities across Eastern Iowa respond to flooding, brace for more

Evacuations, sandbagging efforts commence

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Residents in communities lining Eastern Iowa's waterways spent Thursday sandbagging, erecting other flood barriers and, in some cases, evacuating their homes and neighborhoods.

Vinton city officials, for example, called on volunteers to help install 400 sand-filled flood barriers in case the rising Cedar River defies projections and inundates nearby streets and public buildings. Dozens of people responded to the call for help, while city crews also filled sandbags and made those available to residents wanting to protect their private property.

In communities where water already had covered major roads and seeped into structures – like Tama and Marshalltown – crews and residents continued to sandbag and pump away water encroaching on thoroughfares.

In Black Hawk County on Thursday, the Sheriff's Office said evacuations were occurring in downtown Dunkerton, near Crane Creek. Emergency officials began going door to door along Main Street after the creek's flow jumped several feet following heavy rain on Wednesday.

In Manchester, the Maquoketa River spilled out of its banks following heavy rain that caused the river to rise more than 10 feet in 12 hours. Highway 13 in Manchester was closed due to flooding of the river, which is expected to crest at 23.2 feet – almost twice its flood stage of 12 feet.

A portion of downtown Manchester flooded, affecting some businesses along West Main Street like Barron Motor Supply. An employee there estimated 30 inches of flood water had accumulated in the building.

Buchanan County officials, after heavy rain Wednesday, made available two sandbagging locations for residents concerned about property. No roads were closed in that county, but officials warned of “washed-out” portions of some streets, creating hazardous driving conditions.

The American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa dispatched disaster workers to assess the damage and deliver supplies to communities across the region, including Butler County, where people in New Hartford were out Wednesday night sandbagging.

City officials in Evansdale on Thursday asked residents not to discharge sump pump runoff into floor drains or through the sanitary sewer system. Officials there said the waste water plant has reached its maximum capacity for sewer intake, and overloading it causes backups in homes.

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