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Iowa River Flooding, 2014

Posted on July 3rd, 2014
July 3, 2014 — the Iowa River is rising in response to heavy rains in the watershed.

July 3, 2014 — the Iowa River is rising in response to heavy rains in the watershed.

Flood 2014 Photo Gallery
(photos by Aneta Goska)

Campus Flooding Gallery
(photos by Frank A. Weirich)

In 2014, Iowans have resources that didn’t exist when floodwaters rose in 2008. The Iowa Flood Center (IFC), part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa, is an important source of information for citizens and decision-makers statewide. The IFC’s online tool, the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), allows all Iowans to access information regarding real-time community-based flood conditions.

To access IFIS, go to http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org.

IFIS displays up-to-the-minute community-specific information on rainfall, stream levels, and more, including:

  • Real-time stream levels at more than 300 locations in Iowa;
  • Current flood warnings;
  • Real-time rainfall maps displaying current conditions and recent rainfall accumulation; and
  • Flood inundation maps for select Iowa communities, including Ames, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Columbus Junction, Des Moines, Elkader, Iowa City, Hills, Mason City, Spencer, Ottumwa, Waterloo/Cedar Falls, and Waverly.

Of particular interest to the local community is a series of flood inundation maps available for the Iowa River as it flows through Iowa City and Coralville. Map users can view the extent of potential inundation based on the National Weather Service’s forecast of the Iowa River at the Burlington Street Bridge. These maps can be found in IFIS and viewed directly using the following link: http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/main/?m=IOWA_CITY.  Use the slider on the right to view the extent of flooding at different flood stages.

Note that Iowa River levels in Iowa City are controlled, in part, by releases from the Coralville Reservoir.  Local streams also contribute to flows in the Iowa River and are prone to flash flooding.  Thus, discharge in Iowa City, on which these maps are based, will always be higher than discharge from the Coralville Dam.

The Iowa Flood Center is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a research institute based at the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. The IFC was established in 2009 to provide accurate, state-of-the-science-based information to help Iowans better understand their flood risks. It is the nation’s first academic center devoted solely to the study of floods.  More information can be found on the Iowa Flood Center website at http://iowafloodcenter.org.

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