The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

July 11, 2014

Wapsi level tops record (with VIDEO)

DEWITT — Major flooding has hampered the Clinton County area for nearly two weeks now, but of the floods that have occurred, only one tops the record books.

Though the number will not be official until later this year, the United States Geological Survey agency is confident that last week the Wapsipinicon River near DeWitt set a new, record-high flood stage.

Jon Nania, a hydrologist at the USGS Iowa Water Science Center, said that while the data recorded at the DeWitt Wapsi gauge station measured at 14.32 feet on July 2, those readings were only provisional and still need to be confirmed for an official record to be set.

“We call it a provisional peak,” Nania said. “For every piece of data that we mark final, we have three sets of eyes looking at it before it can be approved. But this one, I’m fairly confident that it will stay the same.”

The Wapsi’s previously set flood record was measured on June 16, 2008, at approximately 14.13 feet, about four-tenths of a foot lower than last week’s reading.

Though the two record-setting flood levels are only about six years apart, Nania said that last week’s 14.32 reading was significant for another reason.

“That (gauge) site at Wapsi at DeWitt, that one has been active since July of 1934,” Nania said. “That’s quite a long record length there. So to say it’s reached a record high is really saying something.”

Despite the possible record-setting flood, Clinton County emergency officials said area residents responded the same way they always do when the Wapsi floods.

Clinton County Emergency Management Agency Director Chance Kness said that to this point, he hasn’t received any requests for disaster relief from any county residents.

“We’ve been out trying to capture as much of the impact as possible,” he said. “We really haven’t had much in the way of the citizens who are affected; haven’t really had any requests.”

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