Crews were preparing for the storm all day Wednesday until around 2 to 3 a.m. Thursday, he said. Electrical crews worked on traffic signals, street crews worked on sandbagging certain intakes and setting up barricades on flooded streets and sewer crews maintained pumps all night long and set up generators.
Current forecasts indicate the crest of the Des Moines River at Ottumwa will take place Thursday or Friday, but that won't be the end to flooding.
The National Weather Service's advanced hydrologic prediction service shows a forecast for river levels. The crest is expected to be 16.6 feet, but that will depend heavily on how much rain falls in the next couple hours. Ottumwa's official flood stage is 11 feet, though the city's levee is designed to withstand river stages up to 25 feet.
River levels are expected to drop quickly, reaching a low of about 7 feet by 10 a.m. Saturday. But that's a rebound, not an end to the situation. Releases from upstream reservoirs will put the river back at 11 feet by late Monday.
The National Weather Service on Thursday revised its flood warning for Wapello County to eliminate an ending time. The warning will now be in effect “until further notice.”
According to the National Weather Service in Des Moines, Ottumwa far surpassed its daily maximum rainfall on Wednesday with 4.88 inches. The previous record — 1.56 inches — was set in 2008.