(Des Moines, IA, July 21, 2008) Summer arrived at 6:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time yesterday. That has nothing to do with anything else except to note that it is summer.
According to data from the Army Corps of Engineers on RiverGages.com, the Des Moines River at 2nd Avenue in Des Moines fell below flood stage (23 feet) during the past 24 hours. At 7:00 a.m. on July 21st the river is at 22.49 feet, down 0.79 since the same time a day earlier. I was in the area yesterday evening and thought the river would be higher. There are still trees surrounded by water and the smell of dead fish was strong. Saylorville Lake Reservoir was at 884.50 feet above sea level (cf. 892.03 record on July 11, 1993).
The Des Moines River below where the Raccoon enters it fell a foot during the past day but is still at 25.33, still above the 24 feet flood level. Stories during the past week have revealed many people who experienced water in basements when the river was near its peak. There were different reasons for the water, though. In some places water seeped in from the amount of water in the surrounding land. Other places had back-ups from storm sewers as rain water met a back-splash of river water.
Downstream, the river remains significantly higher although flood waters are receding. At 7:00 a.m. on July 21st, the Des Moines River is at 20.67 feet at Tracy (flood stage = 14), 18.65 at Ottumwa (flood stage = 10), and 27.79 at Keosauqua (flood stage = 22).
At Cedar Rapids, the Cedar River is at 12.03 feet (flood stage = 12), having dropped by 1.51 feet in the past 24 hours. The Iowa River remains high, though. It is measuring 27.34 (flood stage = 22) at Iowa City at 7:00 a.m. Coralville Lake Reservoir is at 713.72 feet above sea level, only slightly off the July 24, 1993, record of 716.71 feet.
The Mississippi River is still above flood stage at Dubuque in the northern half of the state (17.33 at 7:00 a.m., with a flood stage of 17.00). The record flood level at Dubuque occurred on April 26, 1965. In the southern half of Iowa at Muscatine, the Mississippi is at 22.29 feet (flood stage = 16, with a record set on July 9, 1993). At the southeastern tip of Iowa, the Mississippi was still rising. At 6:00 a.m. on July 21st the Mississippi was at 26.16 feet at Lock and Dam 19 (Keokuk), up 0.05, with a flood stage of 16.
M.R. Field writes about local events for AroundDesMoines.com.