2019 Floods

Katie Peikes / IPR file

At least one home in southwest Iowa’s Fremont County is still sitting in high water nearly nine months after floodwaters from the Missouri River inundated parts of the county.  

Michael Leland / IPR

Some southwest Iowa communities are still recovering from last year’s devastating spring flooding from the Missouri River, and they’re watching for warnings of possible flooding in 2020. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is emptying out flood control storage in the Upper Missouri River Basin reservoirs to lower the chances of flooding next spring. Nick Johnson with Mills County say residents are usually concerned about the possibility of flooding because the county borders the Missouri River, but even more so this year.

Amy Mayer / IPR file

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has paid out a record $4.24 billion in claims for acres farmers couldn’t plant this year.

The “prevented planting” provision allows farmers to file a crop insurance claim when weather conditions leave fields unfit for a crop. Heavy spring rains and flooding left some Midwest farm ground too wet for seeds and equipment during the planting window, meaning farmers couldn’t put in the corn or soybeans they’d intended for those acres. 

IOWA DOT / HTTPS://HB.511IA.ORG/

The Iowa Department of Transportation is raising some sections of Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs to keep traffic moving even when the Missouri River is at flood stage.

Katie Peikes / IPR

A community in western Iowa is using state flood recovery money to build a berm around town in hopes it will protect people from future flooding. Officials have put their original plan for a protective trail on hold for now.

Iowa 511 / https://hb.511ia.org/ / Iowa DOT

The latest round of flooding along the Missouri River will likely slowly begin to subside over the next several days. The river reached its peak near Council Bluffs on Monday and is expected to fall below minor flood stage there on Saturday.

Austin Yates / Iowa DOT

Updated at 10:40 p.m. Sept. 20.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has closed a 3-mile stretch of Interstate 680 near the Missouri River, the second highway closure in western Iowa due to the latest round of flooding, as the river creeps towards its crest.

https://www.511ia.org/ / Iowa DOT

Officials in western Iowa are watching the rising Missouri River. Water breached a levee in Pottawattamie County Wednesday evening, the third protective structure in the area to breach due to the Missouri River’s third round of flooding this year.

Courtesy of Iowa 511 Traveler Information - Statewide Facebook page.

The Missouri River’s rising water has breached two protective structures in western Iowa’s Pottawattamie County, and the water is continuing toward nearby roadways.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

The rising Missouri River is expected to crest later this week, possibly bringing a third round of flooding to parts of southwest Iowa. Federal officials say they are confident some levee repairs made this summer due to prior flooding will hold. They’re also keeping an eye on some breaches that haven’t been repaired.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

A state board has signed off on $15 million to buy out damaged homes and to build and repair levees in western Iowa. But some flood recovery projects are being left on the table.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

The Missouri River’s levels are rising, triggered by recent heavy rainfall in states upriver from Iowa and greater releases from flood control dams. Officials in one southwest Iowa county are advising people to consider evacuating, while others continue to watch the river.

Clay Masters / IPR File

Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King currently has less money to spend on his campaign than his Republican primary challengers, but King says he isn’t worried as he vies for a 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Katie Peikes / IPR

A group of volunteers is replacing the ceiling in a flood-damaged home in Pacific Junction. Mayor Andy Young is working with them. This home belongs to his daughter.

“That’ll go. Just screw it up atop there,” Young instructed two volunteers as they used electric drills to put drywall into place.


Katie Peikes / IPR

A southwest Iowa restaurant damaged by last spring’s flooding is preparing to make a comeback.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

Southwest Iowa communities are still struggling to recover from this spring’s flooding.

Kate Payne/IPR

Scientists are urging Davenport officials to factor in climate change as they debate future flood protection plans. Some analysts say this year’s historic flood levels could’ve been much worse.

Katie Peikes / IPR file photo

The mayor of a small western Iowa town that flooded last spring pitched his idea for a future flood control measure during a town hall meeting Thursday.

Kate Payne/IPR file

Eastern Iowa residents will have a chance to weigh in on flooding, drought and navigation on the Mississippi River at public meetings this month. Events are slated for this Saturday in Muscatine and July 27th in Dubuque.

Kate Payne/IPR file

The city of Davenport is taking a deeper look at this year’s historic floods and the city’s handling of them. A task force of residents, business leaders, local officials and scientists met for the first time this week, kick-starting a formal review process.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

People in nine flood-impacted counties across Iowa now have until mid-July to register for federal help to recover from flooding, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Monday.

Muscatine is one of many Mississippi River towns to see recent flooding. The Upper Mississippi River has been designated among the most endangered rivers in the country, due to unauthorized levee construction.
Kate Payne / IPR file photo

The Mississippi River is continuing to dip below flood stage in Iowa after setting new marks for the longest flood on record in communities from Dubuque to Keokuk. As the water recedes, local leaders are setting to the task of adding up all the damage left behind.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

People in nine Iowa counties hit hardest by flooding from the Missouri and Mississippi rivers have one more week to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get help recovering from this spring’s flooding. 

Katie Peikes / IPR file

Some southwest Iowa communities have started the process of applying for voluntary federal buyouts to demolish flood-damaged homes.

Rural communities are some of the most politically disenfranchised when it comes to climate policy, and last year’s National Climate Change Report showed they’re also among the most at risk when it comes to the effect of climate change. This could mean stronger storms, more intense droughts and earlier freezes.

Katie Peikes / IPR

Early, heavy and, in some areas, nearly relentless rains have led to a late planting season across much of the central United States, especially for corn.

Flooded fields can stymie planting — even if the rain lets up for a couple of days — because the ground is too wet and soft for heavy equipment. Even where farmers were able to plant, heavy rain sometimes required another round of seeds after the first ones were swamped.

Katie Peikes / IPR file

Extreme weather, including flooding and tornados, has been topping the news in Iowa and the Midwest. But the number of extreme weather events in the region may be even more numerous than we're able to recall.