Record Flooding of July 20-21, 1999

also tornado north of Nashua


Cedar River Flooding
Todd Shea, Warning Coordination Meteorologist

Rainfall maps

Nearly every creek...stream and river in Chickasaw and Floyd Counties was bankfull or flooding. Many roads were impassable. There was extensive evidence of flash flooding from heavy rains that fell last night.

On the Cedar river...approx. 100 homes in Charles City had some type of flood damage. Only the Main street bridge was passable and flood waters had crossed on to sections of highway 218 closing businesses. The river level was so high...it peaked the river gauge there but had started to slowly fall as of early afternoon.

Downstream in Nashua...water had topped the dam at Cedar lake flooding nearby homes. Some water was crossing highway 346 but had backed up along the train bridge there allowing water to rise into the downtown area. Sand bagging efforts were in full swing as the river crested.

Sections of the Wapsipinicon and little Wapsipinicon rivers were nearly a mile wide flooding nearby fields and closing sections of highway 18...346 and 63.

Charles City Record Crests

Feet Date
1) 22.80" estimated July 21st, 1999
2) 21.64" March 2nd, 1965
3) 21.60" March 27th, 1961
4) 21.50" August 16th, 1993
5) 21.20" March 17th, 1933
6) 19.14" April 7th, 1965
7) 18.90" April 8th, 1951
8) 18.30" March 28th, 1950
9) 18.26" July 19th, 1999
10) 18.00" March 30th, 1962

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Horse farm/stables completely under water in Lawler IA.

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Same horse farm.

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Another look at the horse farm.

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Highway 18 west of New Hampton, down to one lane. Farm completed flooded just to the right of this area.

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Flooding in Lawler IA, from one of the tributaries into the Cedar river.

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The Little Cedar River.

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Park completed flooded in Nashua...sandbagging to protect residential area.

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Another look at the river.

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The Cedar river at Nashua.

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Sandbagging efforts in Nashua.

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Another look at the river.

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Residential area in Nashua.

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Looking down Grand Avenue in Charles City.

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Water is about 3 to 4 feet deep.

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Looking right from "Water Over..." sign.

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Firehouse is on the far right.

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Another view into Grand Avenue.

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Yet another look.

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A view of the Cedar river from a bridge.

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Flood waters impinging on residential areas.

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Main St. bridge...only bridge open in Charles City at the time. Water approx. 5 feet from going over the bridge.

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Flooding into one of the parks...looking from the Main St. bridge.

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Main St. bridge.

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A look at the river gauge in Charles City.

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USGS personal checking river gauge. The river gauge was "maxed" out...it stopped reading for awhile as it went as high as it could go. At this time gauge read 22.70 feet.

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Woodchuck driven out of the flood waters...waiting for some fries at McDonalds.

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Road partially water covered. Road was completely water covered earlier.

Nashau IA tornado - F1
Todd Shea, Warning Coordination Meteorologist
Picture of the tornado track.

Wind damage was first observed along highway 218 about 3 miles northwest of Nashua in southeast Floyd county. Large trees and sections of a barn were blown in primarily one direction...but there was no evidence of a touchdown in nearby corn fields. This apparently was microburst wind damage as the tornado was forming.

A tornado did touchdown about 3 miles north of Nashua...near The Floyd-Chickasaw county line and crossed county road T76 before dissipating some 400 yards to the northeast. Two farms had extensive damage including a blown down silo...several damaged barns and outbuildings...sheared trees...damaged crops and downed utility poles. A convergent pattern was apparent in the corn fields.

The tornado was rated an F1 and had a length of approx. 2 miles. The greatest width was about 80 yards. Witnesses said the tornado hit about 530 pm. The power did go off at the second farm right at 530 pm and they did hear outdoor warning sirens from Nashua. There were no injuries or deaths.

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Farm building damage.

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Trees twisted and tops sheared/snapped off.

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More building damage

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Closer look at the farm damage.

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Barn south of the first farm. Hit by the tornado first.

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Closer look.

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Silo knocked down...base in foreground, remnants behind it. Silo was empty.


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