Flash Flood Watches in Southeast Iowa

Friday, May 4th, 2012 by Tom Henderson

Oskaloosa, Iowa. Repeated storms have soaked the ground in southeast Iowa to the point officials are starting to get concerned about flash flooding.

Multiple flash flood watches were out Friday morning, though all had lapsed before noon.  Although the National Weather Service cancelled these watches, around the noon, the water has to go somewhere.  The soil will continue to saturate.  This saturation will contribute to possibilities of flash flooding during the weekend rain chances.

In Ottumwa and Oskaloosa, the National Weather Service says just over an inch of rain has fallen in the past 36 hours. That doesn't sound like much, but there's a limit to how much the ground can take. Heavy rains predicted for the next day or so could cause flooding.  Not only is the soil saturation a concern, but additionally the storm drains, and drainage around homes and businesses.  Should the drainage prove to be inadequate, flooding into lower levels of homes and business is possible.  Water backing up into these areas can come from the drain inside the property.  Another area of concern is basements.  The water can back up into the basements from the drain and from the floor joint should the drainage systems not suitably take the water away from the property.

The heaviest rains have occurred just to the east. Fairfield has measured 2.94 inches of rain according to NWS records. Jefferson County also saw a tornado warning with Thursday night's storms.

Flash flood watches are already in place for much of the area. Keokuk County had a flash flood warning for Friday morning.

Flash flooding isn't as dramatic as tornados or lightning strikes, but it is lethal. In 2011, 113 people died in flooding in the United States and the country averages 94 fatalities per year. Sixty-three percent of those fatalities came when people drove into flooded areas.  Of one hundred percent of people who drown, sixty six percent of these individual did not intend on getting into the water.

Storms remain in the forecast through Monday.  During this time of the year watch your drainage areas, sump pumps and battery back up, gutters and downspout extensions, and of course the weather in your area.

If you have any water issues with your lower level or basement, your foundation, or sump pumps please call us.  We can help you!

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