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Residents Prepare for Johnson Co. Flooding

JOHNSON COUNTY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Johnson County is on high alert Saturday night, as water levels at the Coralville Reservoir Lake continue to rise. Many residents have already been evacuated.

The rest are doing what they can to protect their homes, by filling sandbags. As the flood waters creep closer, their pace gets quicker.

"We started yesterday at 8am, and then we went until about 2:30," says resident Mishelle Paullus. "Then we were out here this morning at 8 am."

Neighbor Mary Kathryn Wallace says they have a long way to go.

"We filled 5 thousand bags yesterday, and we hope to fill 10 thousand more," she says.

For residents in the Idyllwild neighborhood, there's no time to slow down - especially as flood waters knock at their front door.

"We're planning for the worst, hoping for the best," Paullus says.

Over at Johnson County Emergency Management, they have their eyes on two bodies of water - the Iowa River and the Coralville Reservoir Lake. Projections show that river levels will remain high until July 15th. The news is slightly better at the Coralville Reservoir Lake.

"We did get some good news from the Army Corps of engineers, they continue to lower the forecast of the lake levels," says Terrence Neuzil, a spokesperson for Johnson County Emergency Management.

The projected level is now 708.4 feet, less than 4 feet below the spillway. Now it all depends on how much rain comes down in the next 3-5 days.

"One model shows that precipitation could be in that half inch to two inch range," says Neuzil. "Other models show it at over 4 inches."

With the lake near its peak, and creeks reaching their limit, 4 inches of rain at the river basin could mean flooding.

As race against rising water continues, some in Idyllwild are left scratching their heads.

"This wasn't supposed to happen," says Paullus. "No one in their right mind would have built out here had we known. No one wants to do this every year."

Iowa is a state known for its nice people, and that would definitely be helpful right now. Last week, the city saw only a handful of people show up to volunteer to sandbag. Neighbors here in Idyllwild tell us they'll be back out Sunday morning to sandbag, rain or shine.

They say they would appreciate some strong arms - and even stronger backs - to help them out.
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