The flood-swollen Maquoketa River was the talk of the town Thursday in Manchester.
Rain Wednesday night caused the river to rise, cresting in Manchester just before 7 a.m. at 19.31 feet, less than a foot shy of "major" flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.
Despite the receding waters, however, people in Manchester Thursday said they weren't out of the woods yet. With rain in the forecast all throughout the day, officials said even an inch or so on the already-water-saturated ground could bring the river back up and possibly into some residents' homes.
That's why crews packed and distributed sandbags Thursday morning and afternoon at the Manchester city garage, which residents could pick up free of charge.
Very early Thursday morning, the water of the Maquoketa River started flowing over Main Street/Highway 13, one of Delaware County's busiest thoroughfares. The flooding affected about a dozen businesses, though many of them had early warning last night and moved their inventory to higher ground.
The Maquoketa River has flooded this stretch of Main Street at least eight times in the past 15-or-so years.
Manchester's assistant fire chief Kevin Graybill was on the scene of the flooding Thursday.
"It's one of those things you shouldn't be getting used to and you shouldn't be getting better at, but we've done it enough the last few years," Graybill said. "It just makes a mess for everybody. Very expensive for everybody, too."
At this point, Manchester officials and Main Street business owners have flood preparation down to a system.
"It's getting to be old. We've done it several times in the last 10 years and everybody's got a procedure they go through," Graybill said. "It's not a good deal for anybody but it's got to be done."
The Highway 13 detour created stop-and-go traffic throughout downtown Manchester all day.
At 4:30 Thursday afternoon, Graybill said the water on Main Street had receded enough to show the center line. He said he anticipated traffic to be traveling through that stretch once again by around 6:00 p.m.
Any more rainfall, however, could affect that.
Track the Maquoketa River level in Manchester HERE.
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