With portions of Highways 30 and 5 now closed, emergency officials are preparing for the worst. The good news is the latest forecasts in central Iowa show although flooding is a concern, it should stay below what Des Moines experienced in 1993 and 2008. The Army Corps of Engineers projects Saylorville Lake will peak at 890.2 tomorrow. Federal agencies do not go by depth of the water but instead the amount above sea level. That’s why that number is so high.
It’s possible total outflow from the lake could top 43,000 cubic feet per second once crest gates are lowered. That’s below the maximum output achieved during the 2008 flood. At last report, the City of Des Moines did not expect to issue any evacuation orders because of the rising water. Authorities say if current forecasts are accurate, the birdland levee which breached 2 years ago should hold.
Flooding further north continues. Governor Culver has made state disaster declarations for 14 counties because of flooding and severe weather. All of this will have to be closely watched but the good news is with a week’s worth of dry weather area rivers will get the chance to move all this water downstream.