The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 20, 2013

Ottumwa dries out

(Continued)

At 120th, Craver, an avid outdoorsman who is aware of the challenges as well as benefits of living on the river, showed where the water was rapidly moving. The river water in the neighborhood isn’t the kind that puddles. This is water pouring over the sides of the road; it's moving water that can sweep away objects ranging from lawn ornaments to the cars of unwary motorists.

Besides being in a low area, one of the problems faced by neighbors, especially across the Des Moines River on Rabbit Run Road, is being on a sharp turn in the river. The water from Red Rock is going straight and fast, and when it’s high like it has been, it washes right over the corner river bank. There’s nothing much to do about that, but a breach in the levee across from Riverside Restaurant is possibly repairable, Craver said. If the levee was fixed, he believes, his street wouldn’t be underwater when the river stage was 14 or 16 feet. Past 18 feet or so, he acknowledged, “everybody is in trouble.”

But not right now. The corps is confident.

“There’s plenty of storage [here]. At this time, we’ve used 15.8 percent of our flood storage,” Thostenson said. “Our hydrologist works very closely with the weather service … there should be no worries.”

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