The Ottumwa Courier

April 18, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Ottumwa flooding

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa has received more than six inches of rain since early Wednesday morning. And that's the official measurement.

Storm totals probably vary considerably, since thunderstorms and the amount of rain they drop can be very different within very small areas. But the official total of 6.07 inches and counting has sent rivers and streams well out of their banks.

Widespread flooding is being reported along the Des Moines River, including Valley Village and Rabbit Run. Flash flooding was also reported on Ottumwa roads, but that has subsided for the moment.

The Des Moines River is forecast to rise well above yesterday's predictions. Forecasters had put the crest in Ottumwa over 15 feet, but as of 9:30 a.m. it was already at 16 feet. The new crest prediction is 16.38 feet, well into the moderate flooding category. The major flooding category begins at 19 feet. But that is contingent on how much rain the area receives today.

Lee Asher, manager of the Wapello Rural Water Association, said Wednesday night's rainfall washed away a road east of Izaak Walton, taking out water pipes and leaving customers without water.

Asher said crews are also searching for another area south of Ottumwa to find a leak that has left other customers without water.

Asher said he didn't know how many customers were without water as of Thursday morning and wouldn't know until the leaks were isolated.

"Right now we're still in the process of trying to find it," he said. "We've had people out since way early [Thursday] morning trying to find it in the dark, which is hard to do."

The Courier has a rolling list of flooded roadways people can update at its Facebook page: