Historic flooding hits Iowa

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 5:07 PM GMT on June 13, 2008

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Truly extraordinary flooding has hit the Cedar River in the town of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rainfall amounts in excess of 12 inches have fallen in the past ten days over the Cedar River watershed, which extends to the northwest of Cedar Rapids into southern Minnesota. The rains that fell during the weekend of June 7-8 were fueled in part by moisture from Tropical Storm Alma/Arthur, which affected Central America May 29 - June 2. The Cedar River is expected to crest today at 31.8 feet, which is an amazing 19.8 feet above the flood stage of 12 feet. During the historic 1993 flood, the worst in recent history, the river hit only 19.27 feet, 7 feet above flood stage. Nine rivers in Iowa are at all-time record flood levels, and Iowa Governor Chet Culver has declared 83 of the state's 99 counties state disaster areas. Additional heavy rainfall is not expected over the Cedar River watershed over the next two days, so today should mark the peak of this year's historic flooding.


Figure 1. Total rainfall for the period June 2 - June 12, 2008, as estimated by NASA's TRMM satellite. An additional three inches fell over portions of eastern Iowa in the 24 hours since this image was created.

New way to track river flooding on wunderground
Wunderground has added a way to track local river forecast levels and assess flood risk at www.wunderground.com/wundermap/rivers. Using data from the USGS (the U.S. Geological Survey), the product plots river data and forecasts on top of our interactive "WunderMap". Users can scroll across the country and zoom in and out to view in-depth observations from all major rivers in the U.S. Alternatively, one can click an option to view only the rivers with current flood alerts. Each river observation is color coordinated to reflect its dry/wet percentile and users can click on each observation point to view data and graphs that display Flow Rate, Percentile, Current Stage, Forecast Stage and Flood Stage. Flood Alert symbols will appear on every river icon whenever a river is in danger of flooding.

The WunderMap™ also allows one to choose from a variety of layers including current conditions, animated radar, severe weather and tornado warnings, live webcam images and animated infrared or visible satellite imagery showing cloud coverage. WunderMap™ is available as a link on every U.S. forecast page, just under the small radar image.

Tornado outbreak update
The tornado that stuck the Little Sioux Scout Ranch Boy Scout camp in western Iowa Wednesday night, killing 4 and injuring 48, was rated an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. The tornado that hit Manhattan, Kansas the same day, causing major damage at Kansas State University, has been rated an EF-4. This is the tenth violent (EF-4 or EF-5) tornado this year, the most number of violent tornadoes since 13 were observed in 1999.

The Storm Prediction Center is calling for a "Slight" risk of severe weather across the Midwest today, from Michigan to Oklahoma. We can expect a few more tornadoes today in the affected region, although the primary severe weather threat will be damaging thunderstorm winds and large hail. The "Slight" risk of severe weather continues Saturday and Sunday across a large portion of the Midwest.

Tropics
It's quiet in the tropics. There is some disorganized thunderstorm activity in the southern Gulf of Mexico associated with a surface trough of low pressure, but this activity is not likely to develop. None of the models are forecasting tropical storm formation in the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Sandbagging (Bubbly)
Great volunteer work on sandbagging in Coralville
Sandbagging
Flooding in Coralville (Bubbly)
Roads closed and houses evacuated; today multiplied both of these with floodwaters still rising and more rain coming.
Flooding in Coralville
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset (RCPlains)
Mammatus Clouds at Sunset

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530. blueranch1
4:09 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
So you think it will continue to be a fast mover? Nothing to really slow it down right now?
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529. extreme236
4:03 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
One of the biggest things inhibiting development is its quick movement. Might remind some of the people who were here last year of that one 99L that moved from the Antilles through the Caribbean ultimately teasing us for 2-3 days. Although, technically it developed right before land as sfc obs indicated a closed sfc circulation but thats besides the point.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
528. blueranch1
3:57 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
I have a road trip planned in two weeks and don't need it popping then.
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527. plywoodstatenative
3:58 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
if I knew that I would have dug a hole and jumped in it by now.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
526. blueranch1
3:56 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Plywood...ETA of the pop?
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525. plywoodstatenative
3:52 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
dinner??!! what time is it where you are.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
524. plywoodstatenative
3:51 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
tampa, like I said something in the caribbean is getting ready to pop. Give it time and it will do just that. Something is going to form, and get this blog going nuclear soon.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
523. StormJunkie
3:48 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
I hear ya pwsn, unfortunately we can't get away from it. Season™ is what brings us together every year.

Off to get some dinner, see y'all later :~)
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522. TampaSpin
11:47 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Still say this is the area to watch more local of concern.

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
520. plywoodstatenative
3:46 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
the spin to the NW of the system, will that affect development in anyway?
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
519. TampaSpin
11:44 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
515. extreme236 11:43 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Ah I see why there so different...my map uses a different scale and has more colors to give it that appearance that it is more above normal than your map. Sorry about that.


Thats ok i got messed up on that once before...lol...gotta go have a good one.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
518. plywoodstatenative
3:42 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Same to ya StormJ, good to see all. Though the hurricane season as its starting to become is not the reason I would want to see all the ole bloggers coming back in.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
517. extreme236
3:45 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Looks like DMIN is effecting it some in terms of convective activity. Completely normal.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
516. weatherfromFlorida
3:42 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
514. Its the remains of Karen.
LOL.
Seriously, it kinda looks like Debby from '06.
Member Since: March 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 77
515. extreme236
3:41 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Ah I see why there so different...my map uses a different scale and has more colors to give it that appearance that it is more above normal than your map. Sorry about that.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
514. Skyepony (Mod)
3:42 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
I am impressed with the structure on WV. Click the pic to go to the loop of the last ~3 days.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37430
513. StormJunkie
3:40 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Morning all :~)

Happy Fathers day to all the dads out there!

Good to see ya pwsn, several model pages
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512. weathersp
11:35 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Spin may be starting to form on the east side of the wave behind the convection.. New baby T-Storms starting to form in that area too (can barely see them, like little seeds)

Link
Member Since: January 14, 2007 Posts: 17 Comments: 4140
511. extreme236
3:40 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Models

Link
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510. TampaSpin
11:39 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
508. extreme236 11:37 AM EDT on June 15, 2008

Extreme their is very little difference between the 2 maps.....you sure your not JP.....lol
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509. plywoodstatenative
3:38 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
any link to a models page?
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
508. extreme236
3:36 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
507. extreme236
3:35 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
506. I agree with that post but I don't quite like that map. I don't think it really shows the correct anomalies because it shows a huge area of below-normal SSTs when there is more above-normal SSTs than that.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
506. TampaSpin
11:28 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
497. eye 11:27 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
if it is mid July the wave would be good to go, but it is mid June, and due to the lower than normal SSTs in the mid Atlantic, any impressive wave coming off now will struggle once it hits the those SSTs.


Actually i disaggree with this post.....SST's are slightly above average in that area and can support development with the current SST's.

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
505. extreme236
3:31 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
And when Felix weakened to a cat 3 he said there was no way it would become a cat 5 as it was arriving near the coast.

But I do realize people are wrong and I could point out numerous times I was wrong also. Thats why I try to point out potential rather than say "yes it will" or "no it won't"
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
504. plywoodstatenative
3:30 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
extreme, The Carib looks like its ready to pop with something. Any models hinting on development in there this week?
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
503. plywoodstatenative
3:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
weather, its all a guessing game in here. Until it gets named or does something impressive. its just a guessin game.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
502. extreme236
3:28 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Actually, I was wrong. According to this the SSTs are plenty warm in its path.

Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
501. plywoodstatenative
3:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
tampa, do you have an IR of that image of at least the WV closeup?
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
500. weatherfromFlorida
3:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Eye, err, it has a while away from the SST's.
And, didn't you say Dean wouldn't form?
Member Since: March 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 77
499. plywoodstatenative
3:29 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
eye, the thing you have to consider. this has already been a freaky season, whats to say that this wave will not develop. Mother nature has something up her sleeve for this year, and I have a feeling its going to be a season for the books, and memories that none of us in here will want to have.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
498. TampaSpin
3:27 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
497. eye
3:27 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
if it is mid July the wave would be good to go, but it is mid June, and due to the lower than normal SSTs in the mid Atlantic, any impressive wave coming off now will struggle once it hits the those SSTs.
Member Since: August 21, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 147
496. plywoodstatenative
3:26 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Adrian, whats your feeling on this wave. Some have said it could be an invest soon, some have discounted it. Whats your feeling? Also there was talk about an east coast forming system, whats the latest with the models on that.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
495. extreme236
3:26 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
there is some SAL north of it but its not effecting it at this time...also SSTs are still warm enough. As long as it stays south of 12-13N SSTs can still support development.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
494. weatherfromFlorida
3:23 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Uh-Oh, eye's back.
Member Since: March 22, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 77
493. eye
3:22 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
the wave is hitting the lower SSTs (along with the SAL to its N), right off of Africa they are above normal, thus every wave has blown up right off the coast to later pretty much disappear.
Member Since: August 21, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 147
492. Cavin Rawlins
3:22 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
489. TampaSpin 11:17 AM AST on June 15, 2008

I posted that on my blog.....its in conjunction with a passing TRP wave.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
491. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:20 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
469. MichaelSTL
471. vortfix

We get severe thunderstorm watches more frequently than tornado watches here in hill country. Had them all yesterday. The cells that spin up tornadoes in flat lands still carry quite a punch and can cause flash flooding PDQ. We get an occasional tornado but infrequently enough that one that takes a big tree down or knocks off a chicken coop makes local news while a T-storm that did the same damage would rate an OH WELL.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
489. TampaSpin
3:17 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
488. extreme236 11:10 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
Tampa, I am thinking that the best chances for development in the next week will come from that African wave or a tail-end of a cold front in the Gulf.


Looks like there is some circulation off South America that is entering the Carribean. This is my thinking. I do like your analagy also. That often occurs this time of year and late in the season from stalled fronts.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
488. extreme236
3:10 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
Tampa, I am thinking that the best chances for development in the next week will come from that African wave or a tail-end of a cold front in the Gulf.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
486. TampaSpin
3:08 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
i think something is going to develop in the next 4 days in the Carribean.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
485. ShenValleyFlyFish
3:06 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
480. eye 10:55 AM EDT on June 15, 2008
is jp threatening to leave the blog.....again?


We should be so lucky. LOL (Just kidding jp)

I once had a difficult colleague at work who would give people the "silent treatment". Occasionally when I got tired of dealing with them I would deliberately provoke them into that response.
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
484. Skyepony (Mod)
2:59 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
South China is flooding. Atleast 55 dead, more missing, over 1 mill on the run. One area was the one hit by the earthquake, another is a major manufacturing area.

Looks ugly for Kansas City & north

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 161 Comments: 37430
483. extreme236
2:59 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
W456, I'm having trouble pin-pointing anything on that image you posted, so I will just ask you if you noticed anything such as a circulation?
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
482. extreme236
2:58 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
.
Member Since: August 2, 2007 Posts: 19 Comments: 19234
481. ShenValleyFlyFish
2:56 PM GMT on June 15, 2008
459. extreme236 10:23 AM EDT on June 15, 2008

I knew invest didn't mean immediately fly a plane. LOL However thanks for information as to times to watch and why..
Member Since: September 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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