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Heavy rain leads to Charles City flood warning


By Bob Steenson,

A flash flood warning continues for Charles City through Friday evening after heavy thunderstorms rolled through the area Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

The heaviest rain fell Tuesday evening at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour, according to the National Weather Service office in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The Weather Service said Charles City received an additional 2.7 inches of rain by Wednesday morning, making the total for just the first five days of September almost 6¼ inches.

Hampton reported receiving 3.7 inches, Cresco received 2.91 inches and Mason City had received 1.34 inches as of 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The flood warning for the Cedar River through Charles City warns the river could rise above the 12-foot flood stage beginning Wednesday evening and continue to rise above 14 feet Thursday morning.

The Weather Service predicted the Cedar River will crest at 14.9 feet Thursday at noon then begin receding.

As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday the river was at 8.09 feet and continuing to rise, having come up more than 5 feet from the previous day.

“At 14 feet, Brackett Street is closed,” the warning said, referring to the street south of Sportsmen’s Park. “At 15.0 feet, Leland Avenue floods, and flooding on Park Drive and 19th Avenue is likely.”

The Little Cedar River by Ionia was at 11.44 feet at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Minor flood stage there is 10 feet and major flood stage is 15 feet.

Localized flooding should be planned for, with the potential for more widespread flooding to develop, the Weather Service said. Rapid rises on rivers and creeks and other drainage areas will also occur, leading to an additional flooding threat.

“Any additional rainfall will likely result in more flooding — possibly life threatening,” the Weather Service said.

“This is a potentially dangerous situation, especially in those locations that are currently, or have recently had heavy rain and flooding. The time to prepare is now. Do not wait until heavy rain or flooding is occurring,” NWS said.

The forecast through the weekend calls for partly cloudy to clear skies with mild temperatures and no rain in sight.