University of Iowa increasing its flood protection efforts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

University of Iowa increasing its flood protection efforts ahead of forecast

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The University of Iowa is increasing its flood protection measures ahead of forecasted rain Thursday and Friday.

Officials are keeping a close eye on the Coralville Lake, where the Army Corps of Engineers is projecting having to increase the discharge rate further.

Wednesday morning, the corps increased its discharge rate to 10,000 cubic feet per second as planned.

Due to recent forecasts, the corps will ramp that up to 12,000 cfs on Thursday, and 14,000 cfs Friday.

University of Iowa officials have taken notice.

"It does justify that the early moves we were making on our campus are well-planned , and are now advancing to more aggressive stages of protection," said Rod Lehnertz, Director of Planning Design & Construction with the University of Iowa's Facilities Management.

As the campus continues to recover from 2008's flooding, the university is moving into its full- interim protection mode.

The university is increasing the protection of its low-lying buildings by adding sandbags, hesco barriers, and constructing its invisible flood wall around Art Building West, a building that was brought back after 2008's flood.

"Based on the projections that we've been given, and the water we are expecting to come to the University of Iowa campus, as of 5 PM Friday we will have emptied and shut down Art Building West," Lehnertz said.

University officials are keeping a close eye on the forecast the next two days.

Crews will continue work to guard against the flood potential through the weekend.

"We're almost certain, based on the current projections, we're going to see flooding in the Iowa City area and the University of Iowa campus area," Lehnertz said.

The university is relying on its contractors for now and not enlisting the help of volunteers, but the United Way of Johnson County is proactively looking for volunteers.

Those looking to help in the event of flooding are asked to call the Emergency Volunteer Center set up on the county's fairgrounds Wednesday afternoon.

"Our emergency management agency ask that we get in as prepared of a mode as possible given what could happen in the next ten days," said Mark Martin with the United Way of Johnson County.

A United Way Emergency Call Center has also been set up.

The number is 337-8657.

Officials are continuing to monitor the rainfall in the Iowa River basin, upstream from the dam. 

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