Columbus Junction flooding news

columbus junction iowa confluence of cedar and iowa rivers

Alexis Carson, a resident of Southeast Iowa (not sure if Alexis is from CJ…?), left a comment today that gives a lot of insight as to what’s going on right now in Columbus Junction, Columbus City and Conesville. The bottom line is that the gas station and grocery store are now inaccessible to residents in the area.

The levee we built broke on the side closest to Grandview on 92 at about 7:00 last night. Columbus City is now without water and has been since 11:00 yesterday. Columbus [Junction] still has water but we have been advised not to drink it. All of the downtown area from the motel to Economart is now well underwater. All that can be seen of the senior center and bowling alley is their roofs.

The crest isn’t expected until tomorrow at the earliest so we are all just waiting to see what else we will lose. The National Guard has been staying at the elementary and are directing traffic and keeping people away from the water’s edge.

Everyone has pulled together well and we are having a community supper tonight to thank everyone for all their hard work. The Red Cross has a shelter in the Methodist church for those who have no where to stay.

Cabins on the Cedar River in Conesville have been hit hard as well. At least one cabin has floated away so far, and many others are in danger. Everyone has moved out of the cabins and is waiting for the water to go down to return to see what is left.

We all thank you for your concern and prayers.

More information from the State Emergency Operations Center after the jump…

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Columbus Junction, Iowa flooding update

The residents of Columbus Junction spent a week piling sandbags against the river, working to protect their downtown — to no avail. This article from the LA Times does a nice job of summing up what has been going in Columbus Junction over the past few days…

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, IOWA — The National Guard reinforcements were sent elsewhere and, on Saturday morning, the mayor tearfully delivered the news: There was no hope of holding back the flood.

But residents in this town of nearly 2,000 on the Iowa River couldn’t give up. Their bodies streaked with dirt and sweat, scores of them lined the edges of their man-made levee — a wall of stone and sand and mud, nearly 12 feet high in places, and all that stood between them and destruction.

They flung sandbag after sandbag onto the ground, trying to block the trickles of water that were seeping through the barrier.

Suddenly, in late afternoon, the trickle turned into a torrent. Beneath their feet, the dirt road was still dry, but far from solid. It rippled with each step, like a water bed.

“Get out!” yelled Linda Pierce, 46, a landscaper who has lived in this southeastern corner of the state for nearly a quarter-century. “The ground’s giving way!”

Continue reading Columbus Junction, Iowa flooding update

Levee breach in Columbus Junction

Parts of Columbus Junction inundated by 12 feet of water. My guess is that the Economart (CJ’s grocery store) as well as all the other businesses in that part of town have been impacted by this levee breach as that area of town is like a giant bowl.

Parts of Columbus Junction are under approximately 12 to 15 feet of water after the rising waters of the Iowa River breached the north-south portion of its permanent levee Saturday night.

City Councilman Hal Prior said the breach occurred shortly after 7 p.m. and parts of the city’s business district is now, temporarily, part of the Iowa River.

“It looked like a tidal wave came in,” Prior said, adding there were no homes in the area where the water gushed.

A temporary levee constructed this past week to protect the water plant broke earlier in the day.

via the Burlington Hawk Eye

Hydrologic predictions + Columbus Junction

Columbus Junction flood prediction graph

The Advanced Hydrologic Predictions Service’s data on Columbus Junction, Iowa is not looking good. The flood waters are now being predicted to crest at 34.8 ft. (more than 6 ft. higher than the previous record set in 1993.)

Previous historical flood water crests:
(1) 28.30 ft on 07/07/1993
(2) 24.28 ft on 05/30/2004
(3) 23.50 ft on 02/23/1997
(3) 23.50 ft on 05/12/1996

Impact of flood waters in Columbus Junction at various flood stages:

  • 36.0 Water affects the Iowa Highway 92 bridge roadway.
  • 31.8 Water is at the lowest portion of the midspan of the IA Hwy 92 bridge.
  • 31.3 Water is at the lowest portion of the west abutment on the IA Hwy 92 bridge.
  • 31.0 Water is on the west approach to the Iowa Highway 92 bridge.
  • 31.0 Water is at the lowest portion of the east abutment of the IA Hwy 92 bridge.
  • 23.0 Water affects residential property along the river south of the Iowa Highway 92 bridge.

Update: Columbus Junction, Iowa flooding

flooding in columbus junction iowa evacuations have been ordered
Evacuations ordered around Columbus Junction, Iowa:

Authorities have ordered evacuations in Fredonia and parts of Columbus Junction and Columbus City as big water heads down the Iowa River.

The towns have sandbagged heavily. But Iowa Homeland Security spokesman Bret Voorhees says the evacuations were ordered this morning because the river is projected to be higher than earlier thought.

All of Fredonia’s roughly 250 people have been ordered out. A shelter has been set up northeast of town at Louisa Muscatine Middle School.

The evacuation in Columbus Junction and Columbus City is along the levee and low-lying areas downtown.

A water treatment plant in the area has been shut down as a precaution. Voorhees says authorities are working to make sure there’s enough drinking water for the towns.

Earlier today Columbus Junction City Councilman Hal Prior said there will be a “catastrophic failure” of the nearby levee within 24 hours.

A smaller levee breach was discovered about an hour ago in this southeast Iowa town, which is near the convergence of the Iowa and Cedar rivers in Louisa County. Crews have abandoned work on the levee.

City Councilman Hal Prior said if the levee breaks down, water will rush through the town’s main area. The city’s only gas station, a number of other businesses and a senior social center would be in the water’s path.

The National Guard sounded an alarm when the levee was breached and most helpers got out of the area. A few guard members are still watching over the levee.

Columbus Junction’s water plant was shut down as a precautionary measure, officials said. As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, no floodwater was inside the plant. A shelter has been set up for residents.

via the Des Moines Register

Aerial video of flooding in and around Des Moines, Iowa after the jump. (The video auto-plays…)

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Columbus Junction, Iowa

flooding in Columbus Junction Iowa

The flood stage for my hometown of Columbus Junction, Iowa is 19 ft. The floodwaters reached 28.3 ft. in 1993. The current prediction is that the flood waters will crest at 33.2 ft. I remember how bad it was in 1993. This is much worse. My parents live out in the country and are at a high enough elevation that they are safe from flooding. My mother told me yesterday that they cannot travel north or east as the roads are closed due to flooding.

Columbus Junction’s Mayor Dan Wilson says they’re trying to save the town’s business district. All the stores in the district were closed Friday afternoon, including the town’s only grocery store, bowling alley, doctor’s office and senior center and child daycare center. All were surrounded by stacks of sandbags. “We’re in uncharted territory,” says Wilson. “We”ve done everything we can.”

via the USA Today

The Economart, Columbus Junction’s grocery store, has the potential to be inundated with up to 4 ft. of water if the levees fail. I used to work there as a teenager. I’ve bowled at the bowling alley. The doctor’s office that is at risk is the clinic that I used to go to when I was growing up in Columbus Junction.

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