The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

April 19, 2013

Rural motorists and students impacted by flood

OTTUMWA – The engineer predicted flooding could make it hard to see some roads. No one predicted one of those roads would disappear.

“Ninetieth Street is the worst,” said Brian Moore, Wapello County engineer, “and will be closed most of the summer until we figure out what we’re going to do.”

One part of 90th Street is essentially just a hole in the ground — the roadway was washed away.

“A couple of roads are washed out. The roads [used for crossing] Cedar Creek are under water. It’s not just the river, it’s flash flooding from all that rain, too,” Moore said Thursday morning before heading into a meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service.

And no, confirmed school leaders, it certainly is not just the river. The Wapello County area has experienced more rain in the past two days than it has in the previous four months. In Eldon, where much of the town could be considered river-view property, Cardinal school district saw flooding due to saturated ground, a lot of rain in a short period of time and a failing drain pipe.

“A drain pipe that was [either] jammed up or crushed somewhere along the line,” said Jake Munson, the Cardinal High School administrative manager, “was not allowing water to drain from the courtyard. It looked more like a pond than a courtyard [on Wednesday].”

The gymnasium, senior lounge and shop class started catching some of the overflow.

“We were getting an inch or two on [the floors],” said Munson. “We knew we needed help.”

They contacted the Eldon Fire Department, which brought volunteer firefighters with sump pumps. They worked Wednesday late into the night, still pumping out water through the early hours of Thursday morning. If they hadn’t, said the administrator, he questioned whether the district would have been able to have school.

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