GARBER, Iowa — The Turkey River was still rising Friday but expected to crest nearly 9 feet below its 2004 record in a small northeastern Iowa town, though additional storms were forecast for the area, according to the National Weather Service.
Rain-laden thunderstorms rolled through the area earlier this week, swelling rivers with the runoff. The crest in Garber was expected to hit 24 feet later Friday and fall below flood stage by Saturday evening.
But that could depend on how much rain falls overnight. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Shea said storms could drop an inch or more rain Friday night into Saturday, and more rain could come later Saturday.
Garber Mayor Nickie Schroeder said her town of 88 residents had been preparing since Wednesday for flooding.
“Everything is ready,” she said Friday.
She said that if the river doesn’t go over the predicted crest of 24 feet, there may be small flood damage to the town’s boat ramp and some field flooding, but nothing significant.
The weather service said the river crested Friday morning upstream in Elkader at more than 5 feet below its 2008 record, relieving worried residents who had been preparing for major flooding. Still, there’s a mess to clean up.
“Our campground, city park, Little League fields and the school’s football field are all under water,” Elkader City Administrator Jennifer Cowsert said. She noted that means a layer of mud and sand also is awaiting removal.
The Iowa Natural Resources Department took precautions Wednesday and Thursday by evacuating about 150,000 rainbow and brook trout from the Big Spring Hatchery near Elkader. The fish were moved to the Decorah and Manchester hatcheries because of worries the river would overtop a levee protecting the Elkader hatchery.
Trout from the Big Springs Hatchery are stocked into 15 local streams, according to the department.