The Wapsipinicon River stood at 18.74 feet on the Independence gauge at 8 p.m. Saturday, headed for a predicted crest between 19 and 19.5 feet early Sunday morning.
That would be well short of the record crest of 22.4 feet recorded in 1999, and that is a good thing, according to Buchanan County Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Wulfekuhle.
“A little bit of panic set in Friday night when the National Weather Service said the crest could go to 24 feet, but we are faring very well,” Wulfekuhle said.last night.
City officials on Saturday closed several streets in the downtown area including the First Street bridge.
The Second Street bridge will remain open, and the First Street bridge will likely reopen Sunday, Wulfekuhle said.
The Highway 150 bridge on the south edge of town had been closed earlier.
A few residents who voluntarily left their homes may need Red Cross support, but overall “things are starting to look very good,” he said.
Rep. Bruce Braley, Iowa’s 1st District congressman, visited Independence before noon Saturday and praised the city’s earlier mitigation programs, which removed many homes from flood-prone areas and replaced them with green space.
Given the apparent increase in the number of heavy rains hitting Iowa, “we need to increase our efforts to remove residences and infrastructure from harm’s way,” he said.
The Wapsipinicon at Anamosa, which was hard hit by the June 2008 flood, stood at 12.35 feet at 8 last night, headed for a predicted near-record crest of 26 feet on Monday night.
The Turkey River at Garber stood at 21 feet at 8:15 last night, on its way down from a crest of 24.05 feet on Saturday morning.