IOWA CITY (AP) — Eastern Iowa communities along the swollen Iowa River heard more good news Tuesday, but they won't let their guard down just yet.
The Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday that Coralville Lake is now expected to crest Thursday 3 feet below the emergency spillway, a foot less than Monday's forecast.
That's positive news: Cities such as Coralville and Iowa City say they can largely manage floods that do not top the spillway, which was breached in the devastating floods of 1993 and 2008.
Still, officials said they would keep their flood walls and barriers up for several more weeks while rivers remain high and heavy rains threaten to cause more problems.
The corps had warned days ago that the spillway would be breached sometime this week, but dry weather since then in the Iowa River basin has helped water levels recede.
In a sign of the improving forecast, the United Way of Johnson County on Tuesday deactivated its center at the county fairgrounds where volunteers filled sandbags.
Johnson County emergency management spokesman Terrence Neuzil said officials have factored the potential for rain this week into the lake forecast.
He also said that the National Weather Service is following a storm pattern that could develop late over the weekend and drop a significant amount of rain but that it was premature to forecast with any precision.
“We're in a prolonged flood event,” he said. “The sandbags and flood walls are not going down any time soon.”
But even the imprecise forecast for more rain has prompted officials to cancel an annual canoe float in northern Iowa.
Organizers of the annual Cedar River Canoe Float in St. Ansgar said that with more rain expected upstream this week, the 26th annual float had to be called off.
It was scheduled to take place Saturday through June 12.
Also, the list of counties with a disaster declaration grew Tuesday. Gov. Terry Branstad issued a disaster declaration for Des Moines County in the wake of recent storms and flooding.
He has issued disaster proclamations for more than 40 counties. The declaration helps counties access state resources to help with the flood response.
Branstad also added Greene County to the list of counties that can apply for a state assistance program. It provides grants to low-income families to help with costs like home repairs, temporary housing, clothing or food.
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