Be Ready for Spring Floods

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) offers a suite of online tools, the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), that allows all Iowans to access the latest community-based flood information. IFIS is a user-friendly online application based on a Google Maps interface. To launch IFIS, visit

New for 2017, IFIS offers a more responsive design. New features include a community flood map widget that allows website owners to add a customizable IFIS widget to their site. IFIS users can also download the IFIS app to their smartphone or tablet for fast, convenient, real-time data (view download instructions here). In addition, IFIS users can sign up to receive a text with current flood conditions from a specific stream-stage sensor close to their home or business.

IFIS displays up-to-the-minute community-specific information on rainfall, stream levels, and more, including:

  • Current flood warnings and stream forecasts
  • Real-time rainfall maps displaying current conditions and past rainfall accumulations
  • Real-time and historical data on stream levels
  • 2D and 3D interactive visualizations

IFIS also provides flood inundation maps for 22 flood-prone communities across Iowa. These maps allow users to see what a forecasted flood crest would mean for their home or business. Maps are available for Ames, Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Columbus Junction, Des Moines, Elkader, Hills, Humboldt, Independence, Iowa City, Kalona, Maquoketa, Mason City, Monticello, Ottumwa, Red Oak, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley, Spencer, and Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Waverly. IFC researchers continue to develop flood inundation maps for more Iowa communities every year, including at least four new maps this year for Clarksville, Ida Grove, and Fort Dodge.

IFIS helps Iowans make better-informed decisions on flood planning and mitigation efforts and alerts communities in advance to help them prepare for and minimize potential flood damage. Watershed management authority groups across the state can also use IFIS to assist with conservation planning to improve soil and reduce flood risk and to protect people and infrastructure.

The Iowa Legislature established the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa in 2009 to provide accurate, science-based information to help Iowans better understand their flood risks. It is the nation’s first academic center devoted solely to the study of floods. For more information, visit