MASON CITY, Iowa – Ten years ago, city officials called it “pure bedlam.”
Now, leaders in Mason City touted the city’s ability to adapt and work ahead to keep the city from another disaster.
“Ten years ago it was my duty day. I was up 24 hours. Never slept,” Jack Odegaard with the Mason City Fire Department said. “There is no comparison. We were behind the 8-ball that day, we never got ahead of the 8-ball.
“Everything we were doing was reactionary. We weren’t ahead of the game.”
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City leaders were ahead of the game Friday, they said, and that’s a big reason why even though more than 5 inches of rain fell they feel that things progressed about as smoothly as possible.
Law enforcement helped evacuate two Mason City apartment complexes Friday – Autumn Park and Cheslea Creek - and three people had to be rescued by boat after they initially opted to stay.
Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkely said they are asking residents of those buildings to remain at an emergency shelter or their current location until the threat of flooding has passed.
Emergency shelter for displaced residents is available at the Salvation Army, and barricades are still in place on 12th St. NE between Illinois and Florida Ave.
“There is still water over the road and in some places, the shoulder has been washed away,” Brinkley said. “Due to forecasted rains, it will not be possible to repair the shoulder and the road is expected to be closed for the weekend.”
Brinkley credited the way Mason City adapted after the 2008 flood as to why more people weren’t displaced Friday.
“I believe the city has done a good job with their buyout program and eliminating problem properties,” he said. “We really don’t have a lot of home evacuation stuff, which makes our job easier in a crisis moment.”
As of Friday afternoon, the Winnebago River was at 9.6 feet with flood stage being 10 feet.
Eastbrooke on the east side of Mason City suffered significant flooding, and city officials said there were other locations flooded around town that didn’t have a history of flooding. The Mason City Public Library was also closed due to a leak.
“It’s just amazing that we were here 10 years ago and had massive flooding on the exact date,” mayor Bill Schickel said.
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