Know Your Flood Hazard

Types of Floods

There are 2 types of flood hazards that Kalona residents should know, the 100-Year Flood and the 500-Year Flood. The 100-Year Flood, also known as a base flood, is a flood having a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. The 500-Year Flood has a 0.2% chance of occurring in any given year. Flooding can happen on the banks of the English River, known as riverine flooding, or along drainage systems that flow into the river. Kalona has 3 main drainage ways, including Salvesen Creek, that run north/south through the city.

Kalona residents should also be aware of flash flooding. Flash flooding is a type of flooding event in which water levels rise at an extremely fast rate (generally less than six hours) and have high flow velocities. 


Past Flooding in Kalona

Riverine floods typically occur at least once per year in some area of Washington County. According to the Washington County Hazard Mitigation Plan, major flooding in Washington County and Kalona occurred in 1993 and 2008, while other varying levels of flooding occurred in 1995, ’96, ’97, 2002, and 2004. The multi-county floods of 1993 resulted in over $125M in property damage. While the Iowa Floods of 2008 were the worst in decades for most of the state, flooding of the English River in April of 2013 likely had a larger local impact. It was determined that over 8 inches of rain fell across the area in just a few days.

The 2017 Kalona Comprehensive Plan notes that flashing has occurred 8-12 times in Kalona over the past 25 years, with the potential to affect 10%-25% of the area. In 2010, the City of Kalona received more than 2 inches of rain in about an hour, which forced the evacuation of a mobile home park.

Learn More About Past Flooding in Iowa 


Is Your Property in the Floodplain?

The easiest way to determine if your property is in the floodplain is to use the Washington County Property Information Viewer (link below). Zoom into the City of Kalona and locate your property. To verify your parcel boundary, click the “ID” button and then select your parcel. Open the "Layers" sidebar and adjust the Floodplain layer transparency to the middle to view the floodplain.

If you have questions about accessing the website or have specific questions about your property, the City offers a Map Information Service to help. This service provides information on local potential flood hazards, areas that are flood-prone, and areas that need special protection because of their natural function. Please call City Hall at (319) 656-2310 for more information.

Washington County Property Information Viewer


The English River Watershed Plan

In 2013, the City of Kalona spearheaded the formation of a Watershed Planning group to cooperatively address flood and water quality issues in communities and counties located in the English River Watershed. The City and English River Watershed has worked with the Iowa Flood Center in recent years to address flood threats in the multi-county area. For more information, please visit the English River Watershed website (link below).

English River Watershed website