Flash floods hit Midwest

Heavy weekend rain floods some areas hit by last year’s disaster complicating response efforts

BY ZACHARY HOFFMAN | BALTIMORE | August 31, 2009


Nearly one foot of rain fell in areas of Iowa Thursday and Friday causing extreme flash flooding in several counties, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Davenport, IA.

“It was just a lot of heavy rain,” said a meteorologist for the NWS. “You had a system that was essentially stalled in place because there was nothing to help it move along.”

An already saturated ground met with the torrential rainstorm and caused water to collect as runoff resulting in the floodwaters.

Monticello was among the hardest hit cities; preliminary estimates show that 150 homes and 13 businesses were damaged. Jones County officials said that a door-to-door damage assessment was just about to take place, but damage does not seem large enough to allow for federal aid.

“If we can’t get FEMA (a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declaration) it doesn’t leave a lot of options,” said one county official. “We have a long-term recovery team that was started last year during flooding, but they don’t have a lot of money to work off of yet.”

Central City in Linn County, Iowa, reported 9.07 inches of rain in a 72-hour period.

In Galveston Island, Texas, a waterspout turned twister injured three people with flying debris and caused a bit of damage to a few homes near the seawall and Dolphin World Inc. souvenir shop Sunday night.

Page Friedman and her husband sat on their porch to watch lightening after receiving an email from their local weatherman about a severe storm off the coast.

“We felt strong winds and we knew it was a storm,” said Friedman.

“(The next day) I went through the neighborhood on my bike and there didn’t seem like there was much damage, it seems like it was just isolated there around Dolphin World up on 29th St.,” she said.

A waterspout at night is a rather unusual event according to Kent Prochazka, meteorologist for the NWS in Galveston. “Water spouts are most common in the morning, around 6 am to noon, developing from the sea breeze,” said Prochazka.

A tornado warning was issued for the area one minute before the waterspout touched land, becoming a tornado. It was a web cam on the seawall that picked up the waterspout and spurred the warning and not radar.

Heavy rains in New England caused minor flooding of some roads and basements in Massachusetts and Rhode Island as the remnants of Tropical Storm Danny passed Saturday.

Most areas reported to the NWS three to five inches of rain, and in the Nantucket Sound of Massachusetts wind gust speeds of 61 miles per hour were reported.

Also, some areas in southern Alabama and northern Florida received heavy rains, resulting in minor road flooding and downed trees.


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