New Hartford faces flash flooding, prepares for more water - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Hartford faces flash flooding, prepares for more water

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There's a lot of nervousness in Butler County as residents of New Hartford are just hoping levees hold up. There's a lot of nervousness in Butler County as residents of New Hartford are just hoping levees hold up.
Waters started rising there early Monday, and emergency crews and volunteers have been working hard to keep flood waters at bay. Waters started rising there early Monday, and emergency crews and volunteers have been working hard to keep flood waters at bay.
NEW HARTFORD (KWWL) -

There's a lot of nervousness in Butler County as residents of New Hartford are just hoping levees hold up.

Waters started rising there early Monday, and emergency crews and volunteers have been working hard to keep flood waters at bay.

Waters here have gone down some since Monday morning, but with a lot more rain in the forecast, people in New Hartford aren't taking any chances. Emergency crews from across the area have set up a command post at the New Hartford Fire Station, while continuing to encourage residents to evacuate.

"We love this town, and there's a lot of work that's gone into it, and it's sad to see it like this," said Leasha Henriksen as she helped her parents evacuate their New Hartford home. "We hope, so far, all the stuff they've done to stop the flooding from happening is working, and that's exciting. That's good, and we hope that continues to be the case."

Heavy rains pushing creeks out of their banks and water rushing over roads were the makings of a soggy, and busy, Memorial Day in New Hartford.

"We were headed down to the school to see what might need to be done down there, and they needed help sandbagging," said New Hartford resident Don Betts.

Betts was one of several volunteers who showed up to help the New Hartford Fire Department fill hundreds of sandbags, which now line the school, local businesses, and the railroad tracks.

Dirt was also moved to create a flood wall to keep water from spilling into town. Emergency crews encouraged residents, especially along Main Street, to evacuate.

Larry Bass and his wife took their advice.

"Lived here 44 years; never had water in the house until '08 after the tornado," Bass said. "Now we've got the dikes and stuff set up different around town, but this water's coming in a different way than it ever has."

Bass' kids were already in town for the holiday weekend, and started packing things up and moving them off the first floor.

"There (were) probably 20 people in the house moving stuff up and out and hauling it here and there," said Bass.

No matter what the end result of all this flash flooding and the damage that may come from it, folks in New Hartford say they've been through it before, they'll get through it again together, and be stronger for it.

"I hope in a couple days, we're having a steak fry and moving everything back," said Bass.

"That's the beauty of small-town Iowa," Betts said. "Everybody jumps in and helps."

The biggest area of continued concern is Ridge Road. It's taken on some water already, but should water completely wash over it just outside of town, it would be devastating.

That's because the road is built up with a levee, and if it gives way, flood waters would inundate the entire community.

The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter at the Boyd Community Building in Shell Rock for those impacted by flash flooding.

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