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Floodwaters dampen holiday weekend festivities in Jasper County

Nearly a foot of rain fell Friday through Monday in some parts of county

Published: Monday, May 27, 2013 12:42 p.m. CST • Updated: Monday, May 27, 2013 12:52 p.m. CST
The historic Wagaman Mill on the north side of Lynnville was barely above water after several inches of rain caused the Skunk River to spill from its banks Sunday. Nearly a foot of rain fell in some parts of eastern Jasper County. Photo submitted by Dave Richards
Firefighters and other emergency responders were seen sandbagging key infrastructure in the community Sunday afternoon. More than 6 inches of rain fell on that part of Jasper County from 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday alone. Photo submitted by Rachel Leach

Memorial Day Weekend, aside from a time to remember those who have fallen in defense of our nation's freedom, is generally considered the start of the summer season.

This year, it's kicked off flood season in Jasper County.

Since Friday evening, nearly a foot of rain has fallen in parts of Jasper County, particularly in the eastern part of the county, affecting the communities of Kellogg, Oakland Acres and Lynnville. Compounded by several inches of rain upstream in Marshall and Hardin counties, the torrential rains have resulted in major flooding in the affected areas.

Saturday, standing water began to fill farm fields, as well as Holmdahl Park in Kellogg. By Sunday, however, a full-fledged flood emergency was under way. Firefighters from Kellogg and surrounding areas gathered to fill sandbags in an effort to protect the city's water supply.

At Oakland Acres, U.S. Highway 6 was completely submerged, and several cars were stranded there on Sunday. Nearby Rock Creek State Park was completely flooded when Rock Creek Lake swelled from the abundance of rainfall.

Some campers there had only enough time to evacuate themselves from the rising waters. A number of campers sat, partially submerged in the swollen lake, on Sunday afternoon.

One camper said the waters there rose more than a foot in less than two hours as a result of rainfall. That particular part of the county was hardest hit, receiving more than 6 inches of rainfall from 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

In Lynnville, paved access to the community from the north on county blacktop T38 and from the east on Iowa Highway 225 was blocked by floodwaters. The dam at Wagaman Mill was completely submerged, as river water lapped at the sides of the historic treasure.

Farm fields were completed submerged in those areas, as well, and more than four dozen gravel roads were closed in low-lying areas of the county adjacent to rivers and creeks.

Little relief is in sight. The National Weather Service is forecasting an additional 4 to 6 inches of rainfall for Jasper County between now and Saturday evening.

Take Appropriate Precautions

All of Jasper County is now under a flood warning from the National Weather Service. All but a small sliver of western Jasper County also is under a flash flood watch.

With more rainfall forecast for Jasper County, it is important to know the flooding potential of your home, neighborhood and community, and make the appropriate plans should flooding or flash flooding occur. Also, remember to avoid areas with water flowing over them -- it takes only a few inches of water to lift a vehicle off the ground and to sweep it away.

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