- Associated Press - Thursday, September 3, 2015

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - Engineers with the Iowa Flood Center are mapping the East Nishnabotna River as part of an effort to better track areas at risk of flooding when heavy rainfall occurs.

The data collected by the engineers on Wednesday will be used to create computer models and maps that’ll show homeowners and business owners what land likely will flood at a variety of river levels, The Daily Nonpareil (https://bit.ly/1KtsLPC ) reported. They also can help emergency management agencies in determining the need for road closures and evacuations.

“It’s really important in that people will have access to more information,” engineer Tony Loeser said. “These maps will allow people to assess their own risk.”

The Red Oak East Nishnabotna maps will be available online late this year or early next year, while river depth data should be available within a few days.

Loeser sat on shore with a laptop Wednesday while his colleague, Dan Gilles, kayaked the river in a zigzag pattern to measure as much of the area as possible.

Gilles’ kayak had two pieces of equipment to help map the river. He had a sonar device that measured river depth by bouncing sound waves off the river’s bottom, and he also had a global positioning device to measure latitude, longitude and elevation.

The last major flooding to occur in Red Oak happened in 2007 and 2008, according to City Administrator Brad Wright.

The flood center, a state-funded research facility housed at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, has completed flood inundation maps for several other cities across Iowa.

“We’re trying to hit towns that have historically had flood issues,” Gilles said. “We want people to be informed.”


Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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