HUMBOLDT, Iowa –Residents In Humboldt on the west fork of the Des Moines river are cautiously watching the water. On Wednesday, it was about four feet above flood stage. Aside from a handful of homes upstream which are seeing major property flooding, things are pretty much under control for the rest of the city. However, if the city were to get four or five more inches of water it could pose serious problems for the city’s water treatment plant and several dozen residents along the river.
Residents like Bill Dunscombe are used to having a waterfront view, but typically it’s about 50 yards from his back porch. On Wednesday, the floodwaters are just about lapping at the foundation. All he can do is run his sump pump, and wait to see if the water will rise any further.
“I don’t sleep real well, but I have a lot of friends like Jim Gronbach who checks on it. I have people calling all the time asking If I need help sandbagging it. I can get 20 guys out here in five minutes to sandbag it if we needed to” said Dunscombe.
Jim Gronbach is the Humboldt fire chief. He says many of the properties along the river are avoiding damage similar to the ones upstream by just a few inches.
“A lot of houses are on the border of having water in their house whether its their crawl space or their basement. They’re kind of sitting on a threshold right now, so four or five inches might not seem like a lot but that will push it to a lot bigger situation” said Gronbach.
The city’s water plant also sits along the banks of the river, and they are already pumping water out of their property. Employees say so far, service to the city hasn’t been impacted.
Meanwhile, residents say they are troubled by the river height consistently beating predictions.
“Every time we get a new reading from the government it looks good, and then eight hours later it goes up and up and up” said Dunscombe.
Gronbach says if they get more snow-melt than they’re expecting from Minnesota there’s the chance they’ll have to close a couple of bridges throughout the county, but he hopes that that’s not the case.