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Tama County declared flood disaster area

Await Federal Word On Status

May 31, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Flood water level rivaling those of 2008 rolled into Tama County Monday night and Tuesday prompting the Tama County Board of Supervisors to declare a local disaster county-wide. By Thursday, more rian resulted in the topping of the water level in the Iowa River at Tama with just over 22 feet recorded compared to a record 21.6 inches set in 2008.

The downpours which continued on Wednesday with a series of hard rains in the afternoon caused flash flooding in Tama. U.S. 63 (State Street) from 5th to 3rd downtown was under water for a time as the storm sewer system appeared overwhelmed.

Water also rose high enough to flow through the letters of the historic Lincoln Highway Bridge on Easy 5th Street.

Article Photos

East 5th Street at U.S. Highway 63 (State street) in Tama was under water for a time just after 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29.
News-Herald/John Speer

It was reported most of Chelsea was evacuated as waters continued to rise there.


A total of 3.92 inches of rain fell here on Sunday according to Official Weather Observer Randy Cooper of rural Toledo.

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Supervisors Dan Anderson, Kendall Jordan and Larry Vest signed the declaration on Tuesday morning and it was forwarded to state officials seeking additional assistance.

Governor Terry Branstad declared Tama and 12 other counties disaster areas on Tuesday afternoon and has requested President Obama designate the areas feferal disaster areas.

Flash flooding occurred on Sunday afternoon with the Meskwaki Trading Post pump areas and parking on U.S. 30 west of Toledo and the Toledo City Park going under water within a couple of hours.

On Tuesday morning the city of Chelsea was completely under water and levels reported still rising by several local residents.

Chelsea gets double dose of flood water, from the Iowa River to the south and Otter Creek along the north and center section of town.

Chelsea firefighters were assisting residents on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tama and Toledo firefighters and the Iowa Department of Transportation were fighting flood waters with pumps and sandbags eats of the Iowa River bridge on the U.S. 30 Expressway some six miles west of Toledo.

They were maintaining one lane of traffic in each direction of the four-lane divided highway.

U.S. Highway 63 south of Tama was closed due to flood water from the Iowa River along the south edge of Tama.

Area farmers continued to be held up by the rains in efforts to get crops in. "The wet weather continues to slow planting progress as farmers remain well behind the five-year average for both corn and soybean planting progress," Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said in response to the weekly USDA Crop-Weather Report.

The Tama County Engineer's Office was in the process of compiling a road closed list on Tuesday afternoon.

Among the roads know closed were E Avenue from Montour north to the U.S. 30 Expressway and P Avenue south of U.S. south east of Tama at Longpoint.

The Off-Road Vehicle Park on Tama's south side was also closed.



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