|Severe storm brings flooding|
by Jacob Lane · July 10, 2013
A severe thunderstorm swept through eastern Iowa Tuesday morning. West Liberty, Atalissa, and Nichols saw flooding and winds ranging from 60 to 70 miles per an hour.
Wapsie Park and the neighboring Highway 6 bank that leads out of town were flooded. In response Capt. Michael Meier summoned the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to watch the bank until the water cleared back in the afternoon.
"I noticed the water was coming up, so I called the Iowa DOT," he said. "But the damage hasn't been too bad, just some limbs down, a few power outages, and a tree fell on a car at the middle school."
A tornado siren sounded off at 3:30 a.m. for a thunderstorm warning in West Liberty, but winds reached their peak around 4 a.m. A resulting flood warning stayed in effect for days after the storm.
The West Liberty Waste Water Treatment Plant reported 2.3 inches of rain fell within a 24 hour period before 8 a.m. that morning at its facility. Most of it was from the storm.
But water levels crested around noon in park, according to Highway Technician Associate Wendell Wright. He and other Iowa DOT workers arrived around 5 a.m. to help clean up the area, including a bridge a few miles west of Atalissa that leads to Moscow.
"We had to pull debris out from under the Moscow bridge to clear it up, there was log jamming and other things in the way," he said.
He also said water levels would be back to normal in a few days; however, this is the second time this year the Iowa DOT has been called to watch traffic using the bank on highway 6 due to flooding.
"We had to close the road down to one lane, as well as make sure vehicles don't drive too fast through the area because of the water," he said.
Several baseball diamonds, a soccer field, and picnic areas were submerged under water in Wapsie Park. It was impossible to walk from one end of it to the other.
Residents from the area are getting used to the flooding in the area. Since its the lowest point in the city, the western part of West Liberty has always been the first to see rising water levels.
"I think this is the second or third time this year water has nearly reached my house," said Mark Kopf, who lives on the curb of Second Street and North Walton Street, right by the park.
"Not much you can do about it though, all you can do is stay away from the water and hope it eventually goes down," he added.