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MASON CITY, Iowa - Last Thursday, before the first notable rainfall of the year, Willow Creek and the Winnebago River were already rushing with water.
After the rain and subsequent snow storm, both the creek and river overflowed their banks, causing minor flooding and forcing the city to close East Park to public access. The National Weather Service's Des Moines office issued the first ever flood warning of the year for Cerro Gordo County.
With a large-scale snow melt potentially on the horizon, long-time Mason City resident Pam Stemmerman predicts that more flooding is on the way this season.
"With all of the combination of all of the snow, and the prediction of more snow, I think we can probably expect some flooding yet this year," Stemmerman says.
Sandra Willis is also a life-long Mason City resident, and lived through the flood of 2008, a time that she remembers vividly, as she lost everything.
"We went through...we had to get everybody out of the apartments because of the flooding, and...we just had to get out of there," Willis says.
Now, Willis hopes that this year's wild weather doesn't get any worse.
"It's terrible. I don't want to go through that again," Willis adds.
This weekend's flooding didn't reach the 18.64 ft. crest that year; the storm brought 1.5 inches of rainfall, and only brought the river up to 10.5 ft. according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Since the disastrous 2008 flood, Stemmerman believes the city has come a long way in improving flood protection.
"I think they've done quite a bit actually since the 2008 floods...to protect the areas that are more prone to flooding," Stemmerman adds.
The flood of 2008 damaged more than 800 homes in Mason City, and also flooded the city's water treatment plant, forcing residents and businesses to go without water for a week.
The flood also caused significant damage in Southeast Iowa, leading to the nation's sixth largest disasater declaration in the history of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
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