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Flooding to the East

Updated: Wednesday, July 2 2014, 06:20 AM CDT
MAQUOKETA, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – There are a number of communities in the corridor that are also seeing rising water levels. To the east, the Maquoketa River was at 35 feet in 2010.

Forecasts say it won’t get that high this time, but it still means the small city of Maquoketa is gearing up.

"Being by the dam is powerful, it's very powerful,” said Valerie Homan. She was watching the water flow by the dam near Maquoketa.

With all the lapping and crashing along the overflowing river, you can forget where you are.

"Well, it reminds me of the ocean, it's amazing, the power of the water. I can't believe it's got that much power to it,” said Homan.

In Maquoketa, it’s starting to become the norm over the past few years. Frank Ellenz is the Public Works Director in the city of 6,000.

"I don't know if it's mother nature getting back at us for something or what but we had the pumps out four times last year and this is the second time we've had the pumps out this year,” said Ellenz.

In his part of Jackson County, flooding starts when the river reaches 24 feet. The city’s expecting a crest Tuesday night at 31 feet, which is almost where the water has been all day Tuesday.

"If we didn't have the pumps out, this whole flat area would be under water,” said Ellenz.

The worst it’s ever been was in 2010 when a dam upstream broke, taking the river up to 35 feet and unleashing free flowing water near the city.

Ellenz isn’t expecting that, but if the forecast changes, he’s still covered.

"On our end here, if we could keep it less than 35 feet, it's going to be hard but we'll just make it. We might have to get some more pumps,” said Ellenz.

The Public Works Department in Maquoketa is just six people strong. Frank says when they get ready for flooding like what they’re expecting now, they split into two groups and work 12-hour shifts. Because of that work, all the flooding that we saw was outside the downtown area.
Flooding to the East


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