Weather Forecast


Island parks become real islands after storm

Flooding still causing issues in some communities

WORTHINGTON -- The sun came out and things started to dry out Friday in area communities affected by heavy rain and flooding. Still, some evidence of the deluge remained: standing pools of water, constant discharge from sump pumps and bodies of water that are full to the brim.

In Worthington, the pumps that had helped to alleviate pressure on the sanitary sewer system were shut off Friday morning, according to water superintendent Dennis Apel. Areas of the city that had experienced sewage problems were able to resume flushing toilets sometime Thursday evening, he noted.

"Tell the citizens of Worthington that when something like this happens, the best thing they can do is have patience," Apel said. "I know that's hard to do."

Apel also cautioned people to make sure their sump pumps are discharging outside of their homes and not into the sanitary sewer system. If anyone notices a sump pump that is not being discharged outside, they were asked to call the wastewater treatment plant, 372-8660, so city workers can check it out and make sure the water is discharging to the proper location.

In Windom, officials were keeping a close eye on the Des Moines River and flooded areas of the city.

"They're thinking it's going down slightly," reported Brigitte Olson, the assistant city administrator in Windom. "The wastewater treatment plant is holding their own right now."

To the naked eye, water levels in Island Park or in the overflowed Perkins Creek have not decreased much, she said. The Des Moines River was supposed to have crested between midnight and 1 a.m. Friday -- as for how quickly waters will begin to recede, "We're hopeful," she said.

Water levels had decreased enough for previously barricaded roads near the intersection of River Road and Sixth Avenue in Windom to be reopened.

Jackson City Administrator Patrick Christopherson said the town continues to avoid a flood situation, with the river holding steady at 15 feet, 6 inches for most of the day Friday.

"The initial anticipatory crest was going to be 17 feet, and they've backed off of that," he said. "We have no reports of flooding or sewers backing up as of yet, but if we get a couple more inches of rain that might changes the story because we're right on the edge."

Water flows south, so communities in northwest Iowa were anticipating water levels would continue to climb. In Rock Rapids, Iowa, the Rock River was still rising, but so far hadn't affected any residences, according to Bret Huisman, Rock Rapids public works director.

"If our dike does its job, which we hope it does, no residents should be affected, depending on the crest and where it's at," he said.

The Iowa commununity's Island Park was also under water, Huisman said, and many farm fields north of the town were flooded.

More rain is in the forecast for today, so area officials remained on alert in case more flooding issues should develop.

"Now we have the pumps and we're going to leave them up until we get that long dry spell next week," said Apel about the contingency plan for the city of Worthington. "We're supposed to get another shot, and if we get an inch and it comes down fast, we could start to see some problems again. But if it's like a half an inch or less over a longer period of time, we should be OK."

Daily Globe writers Laura Grevas, Kari Lucin and Beth Rickers contributed to this story.