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Record river flooding level in Cherokee, Iowa
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Record river flooding level in Cherokee, Iowa


CHEROKEE, Iowa -- The Little Sioux River comes out of its banks in many years, so it's a notable benchmark of the severity of Siouxland flooding that a record flooding mark has been reached for the Little Sioux in Cherokee.

The National Weather Service on Friday reported record river heights for seven spots in Northwest Iowa, plus others in Southeast South Dakota, and a big portion of both states remain under a flood warning. The new record high for the Little Sioux as it meanders through Cherokee is 28.4 feet, or more than 11 feet above flood stage.

The previous record was 27.9 feet in 1993.

On Thursday, the Cherokee Sheriff's Office noted a common place for flooding, Spring Lake Park in Cherokee, was a high point, so U.S. Highway 59 was closed near the area of the park, due to Little Sioux water being over the road. The river floods out of banks in that park area once the 17-foot mark is reached.

Water was also over East Main Street, and temporary housing was set at the state's Mental Health Institute in Cherokee for people needing a warm place to stay.

Further south along the Little Sioux River in Cherokee County, other portions of county roads towards Quimby, Iowa, closed Thursday. A bridge near Quimby reopened about 8 a.m. Friday.

Rivers have come out of banks in recent days due to heavy rainfall and snow melt.

Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation late Thursday for Woodbury and 20 other counties experiencing flooding, including Harrison, Ida, Monona, O'Brien and Sioux.

In a social media post Friday morning, the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency noted people were asking why Cherokee County wasn't on the disaster list.

"I have made the request to the Governors Office this morning to be included in the proclamation for State Assistance for this event," the post said.

"In my one person office, I choose to go knee deep with crews to make sure all of their needs are met during the event. As soon as the major part of the event clears, I switch to the office portion of the job. While we wait for waters to go down, is normally when I get to this step. The next step is beginning damage assessments once the water goes down enough to start doing this.

"The damage assessments are important, because this is how we figure out how much damage we actually have to report to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and see if we can ask the Federal Government for financial help."

Cherokee and many Northwest Iowa counties were last part of a flooding disaster proclamation area in September 2018, after two days of heavy rain. Additionally, in June 2018, another huge impact of flooding was experienced in Northwest Iowa after widespread rains, when the Little Sioux River at Cherokee crested at 24.47 feet.

Copyright 2019 The Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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