Local Officials Frustrated with Wrong NWS Flood Prediction

Local emergency management officials plan to meet with the National Weather Service to talk about improving flood forecasts.

Last weekend, the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities predicted a flood crest of at least 23 feet for the Maquoketa River in Manchester. That prediction was near record levels.

Delaware County 911 Coordinator Mike Corkery says that prediction caused some businesses and residents in both the Manchester and Lake Delhi areas to panic, moving vehicles and other items to safe locations.

Corkery says it was frustrating because local officials knew from past experience that the river wouldn’t get that high in Manchester. Kevin Graybill with the Manchester Fire Department says they monitor the river closely and didn’t agree with the forecast.

Corkery says the National Weather Service doesn’t contact local officials prior to putting out a flood warning. He believes they likely based their prediction off of the high rainfall totals in the northern portion of the watershed.

The predicted flood crest was eventually lowered, with the Maquoketa River in Manchester topping out at only 15-point-3 feet early Sunday – about eight feet lower than what was originally predicted.

Corkery says they will be meeting with the National Weather Service to discuss what happened.