Maquoketa river near Maquoketa rises over 13 feet in just 24 hours

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MAQUOKETA, Iowa (KWQC) - Maquoketa River near Maquoketa rises over 13 feet in just 24 hours. City officials say they're working around the clock to keep the city safe, and as long as the rain doesn't fall too heavily, there's no immediate cause for concern.
Kevin Kilburg is a member of the Public Works team in Maquoketa and he says "everything is stacked against us weather wise. We've got a lot of snow melt with the warmer temperatures, we've got rain which is anticipated to be falling and the ground is also froze so it doesn't absorb any of the rain."
Mayor Don Schwenker says they're monitoring the river levels closely.
The river level is "right now about 26.5 feet. And it's expected to crest now around 32 feet and anytime it gets over 24 feet our flood gates are affected. We have to close them off and protect against any rain that comes while the river is flooding," says Mayor Schwenker.
Crews will be hard at work till at least Friday or Saturday according to Pubilc Works. "We have six people in the public works department including me so we work in three 8 hours shifts," says Maquoketa Public Works director Frank Ellenz.
So how is Public Works getting this all done?
Kilburg says the city water is draining to catch basin. "And we have the gate over here that's closed. So once the water gets here it has nowhere else to go. So this is why we have the pumps set up right here. And we're pumping up instead under ground through the pipes as it normally would go we're pumping it above ground through these lines we have set up. Just the access city water yeah we're just pumping it over a dike area so it doesn't' back up into the city at all."
Maquoketa also has backup safety measures in place. It purposely built two baseball/softball fields at a lower depth with the intention of catching any substantial downpour.
"I hope we don't get a lot of rain tonight and what's in the forecast, but the guys can do this in their sleep. They've been doing it for years and hopefully, we'll come out smelling like a rose again," says Ellenz. The city says no matter what they feel prepared.