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Iowa flood updates ↓

Published June 24, 2024 at 12:44 PM CDT

Follow the latest reporting on flooding in Iowa from IPR throughout the day.

IPR News

Free temporary housing among new disaster relief programs announced by Gov. Reynolds

Posted July 11, 2024 at 2:40 PM CDT

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced four new programs on Thursday aimed at helping Iowans whose homes and farms were damaged by recent flooding and tornadoes. She said more than 5,000 homes were damaged, with 2,000 of those considered destroyed.

Farmers can apply immediately for help paying the interest on loans for farm repairs. The state is planning to launch programs next week for home repair assistance and new housing development in affected areas. It’s the first time Iowa is pursuing free temporary housing for disaster victims through FEMA.

The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director John Benson urges impacted individuals to utilize the resources available.

“One of the things we will note, and in particular we’ve seen this in northwest Iowa, is that ‘can-do, I don’t need help’ attitude. If you are of that thought process, I would like to discourage you from that thought process. Please apply. Because then you become a known quantity to us and that’s how we can help you.”

State officials are also urging Iowans to apply for existing programs like disaster food assistance and FEMA individual assistance.

Read the full story.

IPR News

Gov. Reynolds continues to seek resources for flooded communities

Posted July 11, 2024 at 9:36 AM CDT

Gov. Kim Reynolds made another round of stops on Wednesday at communities hit by record-breaking flooding in northwest Iowa late last month.

Reynolds said she visited Rock Valley, Sioux Rapids and Spencer to see what is needed most.

“We can't meet every single need; that's just a reality. But we're going to do the best that we can to work with people and figure out how we can tap into the resources that are available and see how we can best use those resources.”

Spencer Mayor Steve Bomgaars and about three dozen local leaders met with Reynolds and members of her cabinet to share their major concerns.

“What we want to do is help our residents get back into their homes, if at all possible. But we also want to retain our small businesses and we want to help them as much as we possibly can to keep them here.”

Bomgaars said up to 80% of Spencer’s 5,100 structures were impacted by either flooding or backed-up sewer water, and up to 30% of those were businesses.

Reynolds is expected to unveil new initiatives to help flood victims on Thursday morning. She said unfortunately, many residents weren’t in a flood plain and didn’t have insurance or were underinsured.

IPR News

Disaster declaration approved for flood victims in Woodbury County

Posted July 10, 2024 at 10:36 AM CDT

Woodbury County is now part of a Presidential Disaster Declaration for northwest Iowa. That means individuals affected by the recent floods can request federal support.

Some of the worst flooding in Woodbury County happened in the Riverside area in north Sioux City and in Correctionville on the Little Sioux River.

Flood victims in nine counties in northwest Iowa are eligible for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Most of the same counties also have access to public assistance to help repair flood-damaged infrastructure.

IPR News

Flood waters recede along Mississippi River in Quad Cities

Posted July 9, 2024 at 3:50 PM CDT

This week, the Mississippi River is returning to its banks. One week ago, the river swelled into major flood stage at the Rock Island gauge following heavy rains in the upper Midwest.

Davenport leaped into action, putting up temporary barriers and setting up pumps. Assistant City Administrator and Public Works Director Nicole Gleason said the efforts were successful. But they’ll remain in effect until the river descends below 18 feet.

“It’s all just going to be dependent on the rainfall. We can’t really guess that far out. Right now it looks like we’re getting close back to that 18-foot level about a week from now. So, I would probably think by mid-week next week we should have a plan together for when we start dismantling mitigation measures.”

This flood crested at just above 20 feet. The record is 22.7 feet.

Radio Iowa

Flood victims in 5 NW Iowa counties may qualify for federal food assistance

Posted July 9, 2024 at 2:31 PM CDT

State officials are urging northwest Iowans who’ve lost food, appliances or a job due to recent flooding to check if they qualify for federal food assistance.

It’s called Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP.

Erin Drinnin, community access director for the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, said Iowans who live or work in five northwest Iowa counties can apply for D-SNAP this week.

“You can either come to one of the designated sites that we have, there is a site location in each of the five counties — those counties are Clay, Emmet, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux — or you can apply over the phone.”

The toll-free number is 1-877-828-5648. More information is on the department’s website.

“Those who are eligible may either work in or live in one of those five counties and have had some sort of impact from the disaster. So, you may have lost income because you haven’t been able to go to work or because your business was impacted. You may have been affected somehow by expenses related to repairs or expenses related to sheltering if you couldn’t be in your home.”

Those who qualify for D-SNAP can use an electronic benefits card at eligible businesses and may buy prepared, hot food through Aug.1, which is not allowed under the traditional SNAP program.

Flood victims can apply for D-SNAP benefits this week at the Crosswinds Church in Spencer, the Emmet County Fairgrounds, the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids, the Le Mars Bible Church and Main Street Plaza in Rock Valley.

IPR News

Cattle could experience foot rot as result of flooding

Posted July 5, 2024 at 2:36 PM CDT

Livestock specialists with Iowa State University Extension say cattle producers should be on the lookout for foot rot in their herds after a wet spring and recent flooding.

Standing water, soggy pastures and muddy feedlots can soften the skin between a ruminant’s cloven hoof, making it easier for bacteria to get in.

Foot rot causes painful swellings, and without treatment, infections can penetrate bones, tendons and joints.

To prevent foot rot in feedlot settings, Extension specialists say pen maintenance is the biggest key.

In cow-calf operations, risk reduction includes grazing rotations, fencing off ponds and streams and preventing high-traffic areas from getting muddy by moving feeders or setting up barriers.

Livestock producers should contact their vet if they notice symptoms.

IPR News

Mississippi flooding grows fish habitat

Posted July 5, 2024 at 10:31 AM CDT

Debris from the Mississippi River flooding could be good news for the river’s wildlife and anglers.

The recent flooding has brought tree limbs and vegetation downstream. That makes it tough for Iowa’s fishermen to get out on the water this holiday weekend, but it could be good news for the future.

Kirk Hansen, the Mississippi River fisheries supervisor for the DNR, says the debris could be a huge benefit to the more than a hundred species that call the river home.

“If it’s above water, it can be loafing structures for turtles or ducks or snakes. If it’s in the water, it makes a great fish habitat and also habitat for aquatic invertebrates, and for small fish too, so it’s really a matter of perspective.”

Hansen also anticipates the growth in habitat will mean more catchable fish in the coming years.

“When we get these floods, it opens up a lot more area for foraging for fish species, and we see increased growth and survival when we have a flood.”

IPR News

Black Hawk Park closed due to flooding

Posted July 5, 2024 at 10:27 AM CDT

Increased rain and more flooding in northeast Iowa will keep several parks closed this holiday weekend.

The Cedar River has crested over 90 feet twice in the past month, making Fourth of July prep for one of the area’s most popular parks impossible.

Black Hawk Park will be closed at least through the weekend, no matter what the water level. Mike Hendrickson, the executive director for the county’s conservation board, says that even though the park may look dry, letting people into the park may cause serious damage.

“It’s one thing for the water to get down and get off the road, and people will look at the gate and say, ‘Well, there’s no water here anymore.’ There’s no water, but the whole area is basically a giant sponge.”

Hendrickson estimates thousands of people use the park each season.

“The equipment that we need to get the park cleaned up, safe again, and ready for the public, we can’t take the machinery off the roadways, and therefore some of the hazards lie out in the grassy areas and things like that.”

IPR News

FEMA opens two disaster recovery centers in NW Iowa

Posted July 3, 2024 at 4:15 PM CDT
A building with people lined up outside the door.
Courtesy of Tiana Suber
FEMA started offering one-on-one assistance at the Rock Valley city park shelter house.

FEMA has opened two disaster recovery centers to help recent flood victims in northwest Iowa.

Five counties have already received a federal disaster designation, and FEMA opened disaster recovery centers in Spencer and Rock Valley this week for one-on-one assistance.

FEMA spokesperson Tiana Suber said recovery from a natural disaster is more of a marathon than a sprint.

“We just want to make sure we're just in every spot where people were most affected so that they can come and talk with us.”

Suber said FEMA assessment teams are also in other northwest Iowa counties in preparation for expected federal disaster declarations. This includes Woodbury, Dickinson, Osceola and O’Brien counties.

She said people can seek assistance at any FEMA resource center, even those set up after devastating tornadoes in Iowa this spring.

“We're doing a lot out in the field, making sure that we're just hitting every community and making sure they know that we are here and that they have resources available to them.”

According to Suber, people impacted by flooding should first file a claim with their insurance and provide as much documentation as they can. If someone gets a denial letter from FEMA for assistance, Suber said they shouldn’t give up and try again.

The centers are open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. until further notice.

Representatives from the Small Business Administration will also be on hand to provide low-interest loans for homeowners and businesses.

IPR News

Iowa homes experience damage and destruction due to flooding

Posted July 3, 2024 at 3:47 PM CDT

State officials say an estimated 2,000 homes were damaged or destroyed during recent flooding in northwest Iowa. There is concern about a shortage of housing, especially for Cherokee Mayor Craig Schmidt. Local emergency management estimated that 70 homes were destroyed, and Schmidt doesn’t know where displaced residents will go.

“The reality of it is, and it's not comforting, but all other towns around us are saying the same thing. ‘No workers and no housing.’ So, what do you do?”

Schmidt joined Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the director of FEMA on a recent tour of a neighborhood devastated by the overflowing Little Sioux River. Schmidt says during previous flooding, FEMA bought out 40 properties. This time, there is more destruction, with an estimated 70 homes destroyed. But Schmidt doesn’t know where people will go.

“They're not staying if they can't find another place to live if their home is devastated and gone.”

During a news conference with the head of FEMA last week, Reynolds said the state needs to figure out how to combine state and local resources and get new homes built as quickly as possible. She says the state is working on providing incentives for developers to help with critical housing needs and to provide transitional housing in the meantime.

IPR News

I-29 and I-680 partially reopen north of Council Bluffs

Posted July 3, 2024 at 3:36 PM CDT

Interstate 29 and I-680 north of Council Bluffs partially reopened Wednesday afternoon. The roads were closed on June 25 because of flooding along the Missouri River.

Iowa DOT said some lanes and ramps remain closed because there is still flooding in the area.

Some stretches of highway are still closed in northwest Iowa due to flooding, including in Akron, Emmetsburg and near Spencer. Road closures are updated by the Iowa DOT here.

Tri States Public Radio

Mississippi River above the flood stage, continuing to rise in Burlington

Posted July 1, 2024 at 4:47 PM CDT

The Mississippi River is already above flood stage at Burlington and will keep rising through the holiday weekend.

With rain expected locally and further north, it’s not clear yet how high the river will go.

Shannon Prado, coordinator of the Des Moines County Emergency Management Agency, says a flood wall on the downtown riverfront and other mitigation projects over the last decade put Burlington in a good place to deal with flooding at this stage.

Prado says docks are being pulled out of the water at the riverfront and HESCO barriers are being put up.

Much of the Mississippi River in Iowa south of Dubuque will be at major flood stage through the holiday weekend. That also means a lot of debris will be floating downstream.

Matt Wilson, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities, says he doesn’t recommend recreational boaters get out on the Mississippi over the holiday. He says the high water and the debris will be around for a few weeks.

Radio Iowa

Iowa just experienced one of its wettest springs

Posted July 1, 2024 at 4:34 PM CDT

This spring is the eighth wettest on record.

Although earlier in the year Iowa was in a drought, some unusual events like January’s blizzard set up this unusual spring.

State Climatologist Justin Glisan says so far Iowa has had 116 tornadoes this season, which is well above the average of 44. And most of them happened in May, when normally they occur in June.

“You think of the hail and high wind events, also the set up we've been in has been a drought buster, though, with all these thunderstorms. We've had a record amount of rainfall, particularly in spring, but also in May — the sixth wettest May on record."

Glisan says long-term forecasts indicate Iowa is likely to see warm and wet conditions, bringing more thunderstorms to the state this week.

IPR News

Climatologist says heat dome over eastern U.S. caused heavy rains, leading to floods

Posted June 28, 2024 at 2:05 PM CDT

State Climatologist Justin Glisan says areas of Northwest Iowa received 600% of their normal precipitation over a 48 to 72 hour span last week, leading to historic flooding in the region. Speaking on River to River Friday, Glisan says a heat dome over the eastern U.S. caused rounds of heavy rains to travel over already wet areas.

“May was the sixth wettest on record. Year to date, top five wettest starts to the year. So the first half of the year has been particularly wet across northern Iowa. So when you’re adding rainfall on top of saturated soils, flooding and areal flooding occur.”

He says the potential for heavy rains is greatest in northern Iowa for the first few days of July.

“Northern half of the state has already received about 250% of normal rainfall in June. And again, you take this on top of spring being very wet and a very wet start to the year, the anticipation is we’ll see more flash flooding and potentially more areal flooding.”

Areal flooding is flooding that occurs more gradually due to heavy rain. Glisan says the potential for heavy rains will shift to southern Iowa later in July.

Radio Iowa

Flood death in Rock Valley confirmed

Posted June 27, 2024 at 5:03 PM CDT

A man who had been missing is now confirmed to have died in the flooding in northwest Iowa.

Rock Valley Police Chief Monte Warburton said 52-year-old Kyle Kreykes of Rock Valley died as a result of flooding in Rock Valley over the weekend.

Kreykes was listed as a missing person during the flooding, and Warburton said they found him late Monday afternoon.

According to the chief, Kreykes succumbed to injuries after the foundation of his house caved in and a wall fell on him.

It's the second confirmed flood-related death in the area. An Illinois man died when a pickup he was driving was swept away by flood waters on the east side of Spencer on Saturday.

IPR News

Reynolds working with federal partners to support flooded communities

Posted June 27, 2024 at 4:53 PM CDT

Gov. Kim Reynolds was back in northwest Iowa on Thursday touring flooded communities with the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

They surveyed damage in Rock Valley, Spencer and Cherokee, where they saw homes with foundations caved in by historically high water levels on the Little Sioux River.

Currently, five counties are approved for individual assistance from FEMA under a Presidential Disaster Declaration.

A total of nine qualify for federal assistance that can help rebuild flooded infrastructure.

Cherokee County is not one of them, but Reynolds says that could change as more information is turned in.

“We have to meet a certain threshold and we have to understand the scope of what the damage is. And so that really takes FEMA, that takes us, it takes the local people really getting on the ground and identifying the properties, the level of damage that’s occurred.”

Reynolds says her latest request for public infrastructure assistance covers more than 50 counties where flood damage has occurred.

IPR News

Rising Cedar River creates conservation issues

Posted June 27, 2024 at 3:30 PM CDT

Repeated flooding in Iowa’s Cedar River has complicated nature preservation efforts in northeast Iowa.

The river has crested over 90 feet two times in the past three weeks, which has been uncommon during the past few years of drought.

Regular flooding in the region used to be the norm, but a three-year dry spell has changed how conservation officials are thinking about how to preserve nature.

Mike Hendrickson, the executive director for Black Hawk County Conservation, says if the river keeps rising and falling so quickly, it could result in unforeseen erosion.

It will eventually take its toll, because it will find ways to cut erosion gullies down through areas, and that will take out vegetation and every time it does that it’ll get bigger, and we really can’t get in there to fix it until it’s over.”

Flood conditions on the Cedar River are expected to remain in effect at least into the weekend, and more rain is likely.

IPR News

Flooding north of Council Bluffs

Posted June 27, 2024 at 2:31 PM CDT
An aerial shot of a flooded field and highway
Lieutenant Budd
Council Bluffs Police Department 
Drone footage of I-29 at Honey Creek, north of Council Bluff, after flooding on June 27, 2024.

IPR News

FEMA in northwest Iowa for flood response

Posted June 27, 2024 at 12:09 PM CDT
Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to media alongside FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
Gov. Kim Reynolds and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell visit Iowa counties impacted by floods.

The head of FEMA plans to visit three northwest Iowa communities that were greatly impacted by intense flooding on Thursday. President Joe Biden approved a Major Disaster Declaration for the counties of Lyon, Sioux, Plymouth, Lyon, Emmet, and Clay on Tuesday.

While meeting with city officials in Rock Valley on Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said she originally asked that 22 counties be included, plus nine for individual assistance.

“So, we know that we've got the funding there as you start to make decisions moving forward with water treatment and wastewater and just all of it. A lot of public infrastructure that's been impacted and just all of it.”

Reynolds will be back in Rock Valley Thursday morning with FEMA Administrator Deanne CriswellThey will also tour Cherokee and Spencer.

Criswell also visited Iowa last month after a deadly tornado struck the community of Greenfield. She met with survivors and assessed the damage two days later.

The Iowa State Patrol took aerial photos during the height of the flooding, and Reynolds says that was important in showing the federal government the extent of the damage before high water receded.

IPR News

Some impacted roads reopened as waters recede

Posted June 26, 2024 at 4:54 PM CDT

Flood waters are receding in northwest Iowa, prompting the Iowa DOT to reopen some impacted roads. A 30-mile stretch of Highway 20 in Woodbury and Ida County is back open. However, the community of Correctionville is still closed off to the public. Dozens of people living there were forced to leave due to record flooding along the Little Sioux River.

In Sioux City, inspectors are going door-to-door with MidAmerican Energy in the Riverside neighborhood to see if it’s safe to restore power to homes. Police officers were working overtime to keep people from entering the neighborhood.

Riverside is near the area where a railroad bridge between Iowa and South Dakota collapsed into the Big Sioux River on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says it is having a problem with people driving around road-closed barricades. A post on social media says the closed roads and bridges are a hazard.

IPR News

Northeast Iowa braces for rain and rising Mississippi River

Posted June 25, 2024 at 3:51 PM CDT

The Mississippi River has been steadily rising over the past week or so due to heavy rainfall, prompting flood warnings in parts of southeastern Iowa.

Northeast Iowa has mostly been spared, giving emergency management offices time to prepare for more incoming rain.

Sarah Moser, the emergency management coordinator for Clayton County, says more moisture could mean unexpected trouble for the areas surrounding the Mississippi.

“Our ground is so saturated, not only would I be worried about the Mississippi River rising, but also we’d have some of those internal rivers like the Turkey or Volga, those quick-rising ones, as opposed to the Mississippi, which is a slow-riser that I have time to prepare for.”

She says more rain makes it tough for her region to get an accurate prediction of the Mississippi.

“It’s always a concern for us — more rain — and especially for the McGregor area, that’s what Wisconsin ends up getting. It’s really hard for the National Weather Service to predict what the level will be, so it always has us on our toes.”

The river is forecasted to reach 20 feet in Clayton County by the start of July, about on par with 2019’s flood.

IPR News

Illinois man dies in flood

Posted June 25, 2024 at 3:44 PM CDT

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says a man from Illinois was killed when flood waters in northwest Iowa swept away his truck.

KTIV in Sioux City reports William Schulze was attempting to drive through the surging Little Sioux River on Saturday when he was caught in the current. His body was recovered downstream Monday.

Schulze is the first known death caused by the flooding. Another person from Rock Valley has been confirmed missing.

IPR News

The Biden administration grants federal disaster declaration for five NW Iowa counties

Posted June 25, 2024 at 3:42 PM CDT

Lyon, Plymouth, Sioux, Emmet and Clay counties — where some of the worst flooding occurred — are part of the major disaster declaration granted by the Biden administration. A total of 22 counties were part of the initial request submitted Sunday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were at the high school in Hawarden on Tuesday. Lieutenant Gov. Adam Gregg is a Hawarden native. He says family members had eight to ten feet of water in their homes from the Big Sioux River.

“We’ve seen flooding before, but never to this extent. So credit to community leaders for coming together and working to recover as quickly as they can.”

Gregg spoke about the flooding while touring affected communities Monday.

FEMA staff are also beginning to sign people up for individual and small business assistance in other communities in the approved five counties. Gov. Kim Reynolds will continue to request help for more flooded areas as the extent of the damage is recorded.

IPR News

Davenport prepares for flooding along the Mississippi River

Posted June 25, 2024 at 3:25 PM CDT

The City of Davenport is deploying temporary barriers and water pumps in anticipation of flooding. The National Weather Service out of the Quad Cities anticipates flood waters to reach 18.5 feet around July 4.

Nicole Gleason is the City of Davenport’s public works director and assistant city administrator. She says summer floods are more difficult to predict because they depend on the timing of rain storms.

"We can’t tell you exactly how much rain a storm is going to dump or where that rain is going to go and if it will contribute to the Mississippi water shed or not. So at this point it’s really kind of a 24-hour basis. We’ll just have to keep watching it daily and act accordingly.

”The city is offering sandbags to impacted residents and is closing a number of parks and streets.

Gleason emphasized residents should avoid crossing through flood water.

The current expected crest is far below the record river stage of 22.7 feet back in 2019.

IPR News

Iowa floods receive presidential disaster declaration

Posted June 25, 2024 at 12:54 PM CDT

The White House has approved a federal disaster declaration for a portion of the counties where Gov. Kim Reynolds had requested assistance.

The presidential disaster declaration currently covers Clay, Emmet, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux counties where some of the worst flooding took place in towns. Towns impacted in those counties include Spencer, Rock Valley and Hawarden. The announcement frees up assistance to individuals and small businesses to help cover costs such as temporary housing and medical expenses.

Reynolds plans to continue seeking assistance for other counties once more information about flood damage is gathered.

IPR News

Iowa DOT closes Interstates 29, 680 due to flooding near Council Bluffs

Posted June 25, 2024 at 12:50 PM CDT

Part of Interstate 29 in western Iowa will close due to flooding.

The Iowa DOT said a portion of I-29 and I-680 north of Council Bluffs will be closed to traffic on Tuesday night. The exact timing depends on how quickly the Missouri River rises.

The river is expected to crest in a moderate flood stage later this week.

IPR News

More residents evacuate after levee breaks in western Iowa

Posted June 25, 2024 at 9:49 AM CDT

A levee broke in western Iowa Tuesday morning, forcing the evacuation of the small town of Rodney along the Little Sioux River.

In a social media post, the Monona County Sheriff’s Office said roads have been closed off to the public after the levee was breached in several spots. Woodbury County Emergency Management is also evacuating the town of Smithland upstream as a precaution.

An emergency shelter has been set up in Onawa to help impacted residents.

Radio Iowa

Big Sioux River crest in Sioux City 7+ feet above previous record

Posted June 25, 2024 at 9:48 AM CDT

The Big Sioux River crested in Sioux City on Monday morning at 45 feet.

City fire marshal Mark Aesoph said that’s more than seven feet higher than the previous record.

“It’s just been difficult to predict what’s going to happen when levels are this high when we have no history with it.”

A temporary levee was built to protect a Sioux City neighborhood, but Aesoph said water has gone over another levee just to the east, which was not expected.

Water has come up through storm drains in low areas of Sioux City’s Riverside neighborhood and a mandatory evacuation was issued for some areas. Aesoph said crews started going door-to-door Monday morning to notify residents.

“We do anticipate that the evacuation area will continue to grow as water continues to rise within the levee. The city has deployed many pumps through the area, but unfortunately we just can’t keep up with a river that is flowing at that pace with that much water.”

The Tyson Events Center is open as an emergency shelter and buses are available for residents who are evacuating.

IPR News

Rock Valley resident says ‘people can’t afford’ another flood

Posted June 25, 2024 at 8:53 AM CDT
A field is flooded. A farm can be seen in the background.
Sheila Brummer
Iowa Public Radio
The sound of pumps, generators and farm equipment fills the town of Rock Valley days after water poured over a protective berm, causing catastrophic conditions.

Gov. Kim Reynolds visited five northwest Iowa communities hard hit by heavy flooding on Monday. This included the community of Rock Valley, where the Rock River crested at more than 27 feet, almost five feet higher than record flooding ten years earlier.

City officials originally thought a protective berm gave way, but now say nothing was breached; the water level was just too high.

Either way, resident Cheri Gacke plans to move after living through a previous flood.

“I hope the city comes up with something that's going to fix this town because our town is going to die. Otherwise, I think we can't keep doing this every few years. No, people can't afford it. You can't live here.”

Gacke said she and many of her other neighbors didn’t have flood insurance.

IPR News

Governor declares 27-county disaster area amid flooding

Posted June 24, 2024 at 4:12 PM CDT

Gov. Kim Reynolds has expanded a state disaster proclamation for flooding in western Iowa to include five more counties on the Missouri River where the high water is headed. The disaster proclamation now covers a 27-county area.

Volunteers were welcomed into Rock Valley on Monday to help with clean-up efforts. An estimated 500 homes there were flooded, including Rock Valley resident Steve Gacke.

Gacke said his home has been flooded before and it’s not insured. This time, he’s thinking about leaving Rock Valley.

“I don’t know what the city’s going to do. I don’t’ think people are going to want to live there anymore because it happens so often. It’s ten years to this weekend where we had the other one. Something’s got to change. We don’t want to stay here.”

On Saturday, the Rock River crested in Rock Valley nearly five feet higher than in the flood in 2014.

No deaths have been reported from the flooding, but one person is confirmed missing in Rock Valley.

Radio Iowa reports the driver of a submerged vehicle in Spencer also has not been found.

IPR News

What to know before donating to flooded communities

Posted June 24, 2024 at 12:47 PM CDT

Communities in northwest Iowa are asking people to check first with local officials before they bring physical donations to help flooded residents.

For instance, the town of Sioux Rapids is only accepting certain items at the fire station on Monday. The list includes toilet paper, rubber gloves and first aid supplies.

Iowa Director of Homeland Security John Benson said donated items can burden communities already overwhelmed by disaster response.

“Showing up with a truckload of stuff and things makes the situation worse. So be cognizant when you donate that you’re doing that correctly.”

Benson said cash donations give local officials more flexibility to cover immediate and long-term costs.

Iowa Homeland Security is posting information online about items communities need as well as verified flood recovery funds that are raising money.

IPR News

Evacuations are underway in Woodbury Co.

Posted June 24, 2024 at 12:47 PM CDT

Emergency officials in Woodbury County have started evacuating people out of the Riverside area on the north side of Sioux City.

Other residents in the neighborhood on the Big Sioux River have been told to prepare to leave if water levels keep rising. For now, officials say they are going door-to-door to evacuate people as needed. They say water levels on the river have “stabilized” but are not yet falling.

The Tyson Events Center in Sioux City is open as a shelter for people who are forced to evacuate or voluntarily leave their homes.

Read more.

IPR News

Record-breaking floods sweep across NW Iowa over the weekend

Posted June 24, 2024 at 12:43 PM CDT
Three government officials sit at a desk, one man on the left, a woman in red in the middle, and a man wearing a baseball cap on the right.
Sheila Brummer
Iowa Public Radio
Gov. Kim Reynolds and 4th District Rep. Randy Feenstra met with Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo on Monday, June 24, 2024 after record flooding in the area.

Flooding in northwest Iowa broke records over the weekend after storms dropped up to 15 inches of rain in some areas across parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has issued a state disaster proclamation for 27 counties in western Iowa and requested aid for 22 counties through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program. She requested additional aid for nine of the hardest-hit counties through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, which provides financial assistance to individuals and small businesses.

According to Reynolds, approximately 1,900 properties were impacted, with hundreds of homes destroyed and significant damage to agricultural land. The Iowa DNR helped rescue about 250 people caught in the path of rising rivers, with others airlifted out by the National Guard.

The National Weather Service says more rain is in the forecast, and high water continues to move downstream.

This post has been corrected to reflect the total number of counties included in the disaster proclamation. As of 1:30 p.m. on June 24, the total number is 27 counties.