The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 12, 2014

Wapsi creeps over its banks

CLINTON — A flood warning threatened the banks of the Wapsipinicon River on Tuesday, but area flood management teams aren’t too concerned just yet.

The National Weather Service issued the 24-hour, minor flood warning at approximately 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, expecting the river to crest at 11.2 feet before falling below the 11-foot flood stage by Wednesday.

Although the water was expected to affect some county roads, Secondary Road Superintendent Donn Holst said he wasn’t too worried about the projected forecast.

“As far as right now I don’t think it’s out of its banks yet,” Holst said Tuesday afternoon. “So we’re kind of on standby.”

His biggest concern Tuesday was opening up crossroad tubes throughout the county that were either frozen or jammed with debris and ice before the Wapsi hit its expected crest.

As of late Tuesday, secondary roads crews were able to clear nearly all the crossroad tubes in the county, leaving only about two that caused water to flow over lightly traveled gravel or paved roads.

“We went around with backhoes where we usually have problems to clean out the tubes and I’d say by now we might only have one or possibly two spots in the county where the water is going over the road,” Holst said. “But it’s not yet causing an issue.”

While Tuesday’s flood warning didn’t cause turmoil for Clinton County, it did ignite the realization that spring is on the horizon and expecting the Wapsi to experience substantial flooding is inevitable.

Chance Kness, Clinton County Emergency Management coordinator, said he always monitors the Wapsi’s flooding trends but added there is little he has done in the past in the way of prevention or assistance.

Because the Wapsi typically floods several times a year, people who reside along its banks understand the risks and have adapted their lives to accommodate what Mother Nature brings their way.

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