After Iowa’s snowiest February on record, March showers are bringing widespread flooding. Concerns centering around a fast melt off of a snow pack that held anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of frozen water have resulted in a Flash Flood Warning for the entire area. This is because the runoff is flowing into poor drainage areas. In Kossuth County, Emergency Management is reporting basement flooding and several secondary roads are impassable or impacted by the water.
The rainfall predicted for tonight will lead to additional flooding impacts along creeks and streams. Meteorologist Brooke Hagenhoff, at the National Weather Service, says there are flood watches and warnings all across the Iowa map and some roads are already barricaded off due to the high water.
Some waterways in southwest Iowa and across much of eastern Iowa have already seen water levels double in the past 24 hours.
Indianola and Ottumwa had flash flooding due to ice jams on Tuesday. Other areas of particular concern for ice jams include Marshalltown, Fort Dodge, Van Meter and north of Waterloo. The forecast calls for much warmer weather Wednesday and Thursday, with high temperatures in the upper 40s in northern Iowa to near 60 in southern Iowa. Hagenhoff says there’s still deep snowpack in parts of the state.
The National Weather Service is again posting warnings to motorists approaching flooded waterways, telling them to “Turn around, don’t drown.”
Even in areas where the snow is already long gone, Hagenhoff says there’s concern about flooding as waterways are swelling with runoff from snowmelt upriver.