With several consecutive days of rain and more expected, local officials are carefully monitoring stream and river levels, which were on the rise Tuesday.
For the month of October, 2.68 inches of rain had fallen as of Tuesday morning. That is more than 2 inches above normal for the month to date, with most of that falling since Oct. 5, officials with the National Weather Service in Des Moines said.
“Obviously, we’ve been extremely wet the past few days and our soil just can’t take anymore rain,” said Allan Curtis, a meteorologist with weather service. “Everything hitting the ground is running off into local creeks, streams and rivers.”
In the Ames area, the South Skunk River at U.S. Highway 30 was at 20.56 feet at noon on Tuesday and rising. It was forecast to crest at 22.7 feet around noon on Wednesday, according to data from the weather service, which has issued a flood warning for the river. Squaw Creek at Lincoln Way was at 6.81 feet at noon Tuesday and was expected to crest at 10.5 feet at 12 a.m. Wednesday before beginning to recede.
At those crest levels, South 16th Street in Ames could be affected by the South Skunk River, as would low-lying areas, farmland and some gravel roads south of Ames. The forecast crest for the river is just below levels that would affect the Shady Grover Mobile Home Park.
Areas expected to be affected by the rise in the level of Squaw Creek would be lowland areas around South Fourth Street, and 190th Street southwest of Gilbert.
Another 1 to 3 inches of rain were possible throughout the day Wednesday and Wednesday night, possibly forcing those flood projections higher, Curtis said.
“There’s still a chance for things to get worse because everything that will fall will go into runoff,” he said. “Most people will see minor to close to moderate flooding, but there is certainly some lingering potential for more moderate to major flooding.”
Because of those concerns, the city of Ames issued a news release Tuesday that says officials are closely monitoring the situation, and asking that residents be vigilant of changing conditions.
“There is still significant rainfall forecasted, and the ground is very saturated,” said John Dunn, director of the city’s water ad pollution control department, in the release. “Ames residents should be vigilant and monitor their homes businesses and property as these situations can change very quickly.”
The good news is, the rain is expected to come to an end after Wednesday and sunshine and much cooler weather is forecast for Thursday and Friday, with highs in the 40s and lows in the low-to mid-30s. Rain returns to the forecast on Saturday and Sunday before sunshine returns early next week.
Curtis said it’s the cooler temperatures that people may notice most in the coming days.
“It will be brisk return to fall,” he said.