It was a white-knuckle drive home from Manchester to Cedar Rapids late Sunday afternoon, with torrential rains, tornado warnings and blindingly bright flashes of lightning.
With rain forecast for the next four days, the fear of flooding is on the minds of many Eastern Iowans.
In Manchester, I stopped at Bushel & A Peck, a great little local foods shop, where co-owner Cookie Cole was hoping the Maquoketa River would stay at bay.
In the seven years she and husband Dave have been at their location at 401 West Main St., their store has flooded nearly every year, compared to just two times over the course of decades for the previous owner.
Most memorable was 2010, when they were preparing for RAGBRAI riders to come through Manchester, only to have nearly 4 feet of water deluge their shop. Watermelons and other food they had prepared for the festivities could be seen floating down Main Street.
Cookie said this year, they’ve tried to prepare for the worst with a berm around their store, and she’s hoping for the best, despite the possibility of 4 inches of rain coming to Eastern Iowa over the next several days.
The latest state water summary from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources showed above normal rainfall was received in Iowa over the last two weeks, with the statewide average at 2.3 inches, compared to the norm of 1.7 inches.
Here is more from that report:
Although shallow groundwater levels in southern central, eastern and northeastern Iowa have benefited from the rainfall, parts of southwest and northwest Iowa received very little rain and shallow groundwater levels are much lower than the previous April.
Water supply operators in northwest Iowa are seeing reduced production, dropping water levels and historically low levels.
For a more thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends through April 24, go to http://www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
The report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering and the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.