The Floods of 2010

August 13, 2010

This is a week that people in Central Iowa will not forget for a long time. Ames received around 10 inches of rain in a three day period and the city experienced arguably its most devastating flood ever. The Squaw Creek and Skunk River are the two major waterways that run through town. Squaw Creek crested at 18.13 feet (flood stage is 9) which was just shy of the record crest of 18.5 experienced back in 1993. The Skunk River crested at 26.52 feet (flood stage is 20) which was above the 1993 crest of 25.53 feet. For those familiar with Ames, the picture above is a shot of Hilton Coliseum inundated in flood waters.

The majority of the flood waters have now receded and cleanup efforts are well underway. Trying to predict the survival of turfgrass in flooded conditions is tricky business and depends on so many factors. Weather is a big factor and has not been on our side so far this week. Temperatures have been in the low 90’s with the humidity pushing heat indices into the 100’s.

We were greeted to a healthy dose of mycelium at our research station this morning. During my time spend in industry, I learned that trying to visually distinguish between dollar spot and pythium blight is very difficult (at least it is for me!) so we brought the sample to campus for a closer look. Inspection of the sample under a compound microscope confirmed that the disease we were seeing was in fact Pythium blight.


We also stumbled upon some slime mold. Earlier in the year we had a post about slime mold on green height creeping bentgrass. This slime mold appeared on rough height Kentucky bluegrass. Remember that slime molds are more of an oddity, they’re unsightly but they are not considered harmful and control measures are not necessary.

I’ll leave you with a video courtesy of KCCI News Channel 8 showing an aerial view of the city this past Wednesday morning.