Flood Inundation Map: Elkader

A new web-based flood preparedness tool developed at the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) can help Elkader residents know what to expect from the Turkey River at times of high flows.

The new Elkader flood inundation maps are available to the public on the Internet through the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), an interactive Google Maps-based online application.  Homeowners and business owners will now be able to see how predicted flood levels might affect their individual properties.

Witold Krajewski, IFC director, says improving flood preparedness is one of the IFC’s key goals. “This is an opportunity for us to produce research that is useful and meaningful for Iowans. Our high-resolution web-based flood inundation maps illustrate where floodwaters will go under different conditions.”

He adds, “We believe this extra measure of preparedness can save property, resources, and lives.”

With these maps, Iowa Flood Center researchers are taking the guesswork out of future flood scenarios for Elkader and several other Iowa communities. When floods struck Iowa in the past, uncertainty was part of the problem. Property owners were unsure if projected floodwaters would reach them, and how they ought to prepare.

IFC engineers use bathymetric surveys of the riverbed to determine the shape of the channel and aerial LiDAR (laser radar) data. With this information, researchers can create very detailed maps of the streambed and floodplain to illustrate where floodwaters will go under different conditions.

The detailed flood inundation maps are available online for a number of Iowa communities including Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Des Moines, Elkader, Hills, Iowa City, Mason City, and Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Additional communities will be mapped in the future.

To use the interactive online maps, use the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). Launch IFIS, and click “Flood Maps” to view the inundation maps.

The Iowa Flood Center is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a unit of the UI College of Engineering. The IFC was created in 2009 in the aftermath of the historic 2008 Iowa floods and is supported by state appropriations to improve flood monitoring and prevention in Iowa.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sara Steussy, Iowa Flood Center, 319-384-1729,

Turkey River Meeting

Iowa Flood Center personnel traveled to Elkader, Iowa to discuss flooding on the Turkey River.