Flood Preps Along the Wapsipinicon

ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- In a three day span, the Wapsipinicon River in Jones County rose more than 10 feet, according to the National Weather Service. It's forecasting the river to rise to 22.4 feet by Friday which would be the sixth highest crest the river has ever seen.

As water flows down the Wapsipinicon River, all city officials can do is wait to see how high the river crests and if the levees can hold the water back.

"We have the sand and bags ready to go if the prediction changes, but right now, we're still monitoring," said Jacob Sheridan, the Anamosa City Administrator.

As people like Sheridan prepare, they are using the recent flood levels of 2016 when the Wapsipinicon River crested at 22.74 feet, the fifth all-time highest crest for the river.

"Even if we got the exact same point, we're fairly confident there's not going to be much to handle," Sheridan said. "It's really if it starts to exceed that where we're going to change our plans a little bit."

In the community of Stone City, adopted by Anamosa, they are already seeing signs of flooding. Roads are submerged along the river, forcing cars to find detours and some other vehicles to attempt to plow through. The Stone City boat access was completely underwater, making it unusable.

The General Store Pub sits right along the river in Stone City, and staff members are already preparing for the river to reach those high levels.

"Being an older building, the water is a little bit more threatening," said Kyle Kilburg, who has worked at the restaurant since 2011. "We've been moving a lot of stuff just getting ready for it, getting the shop-vac ready."

Kilburg said they moved all the outdoor furniture to higher ground, as they expect their deck adjacent to the river to also end up underwater.

But despite their expectations of high river levels in the coming days, Kilburg thinks the proximity to the river may actually help business.

"People like to see the way the environment acts with the business that we're running," Kilburg said. "So for a flood like this to happen, most places people wouldn't come out to eat. But if you can get a good look at the river from The General Store deck, there's going to be people here."

"Because [people] know that even in the worst of times, it actually hasn't flooded the business," Kilburg said. "So they'll be in a fairly safe spot, assuming they can get across the bridge."

Sheridan advised people in town and in the county to continue to monitor and report any issues, as well as avoid any areas that may already see flooding rather than trying to drive through it.