An early spring thaw has hit the area and it has local farmers, county officials, and others concerned about what may be coming for the area. Will there be heavy rains and flooding earlier in the year than last year? If so, are area drainage systems prepared and ready to handle the load? Right now, government forecasters are warning that Iowa is in store for more significant flooding this spring. A state researcher says these predictions have become all too common.
The National Weather Service predicted the chances of major flooding along the Mississippi River are “greater than 95%.” And in the western part of the state, there’s an elevated risk for flooding along the Missouri River.
Nate Young, associate director of the Iowa Flood Center, says it isn’t surprising to hear these predictions – given how the state is already dealing with the effects of unpredictable weather patterns such as what the area is experiencing currently.
Last year, flooding in Iowa resulted in $2 billion worth of damage. Much of the flooding in the area was confined to fields flooded out by snowmelt and heavy rains that followed. Earlier this month, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that provides more than $20 million to communities trying to recover from the disaster. Young says his office is working with various agencies across the state to establish best management practices for containing water on the landscape. But he notes those projects need more funding. In the meantime, he says the current cycle will continue.
Agencies like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they’re monitoring the situation for areas that could be impacted by this year’s flood predictions, and are helping those communities prepare.