Iowa Reeling From Flood Damage, Expects More This Week

Iowa state officials are expecting a presidential disaster declaration for parts of the state that have been hit by severe weather damage, including extensive flooding. So far, the weather and flooding has damaged crops, 150 homes, and public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and public buildings. The damage to publish infrastructure alone is estimated to be a future cost of $15.5 million.

Gov. Terry Branstad has issued state disaster declarations for 18 counties so far, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will decide on whether to create a federal designation after they review damage assessments through the rest of the month. Mark Schouten, the director of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, says that there are still secondary roads underwater, and “we don’t know how much damaged they’ve sustained.”

Hail and flooding plagued different parts of the state, including Northwest Iowa, which has typically been one of the driest areas, and consequently was ill-prepared to handle extensive flooding. “We will have substantial crop damage separate and above what we’ve discussed here today,” said Branstad in a recent news conference.

According to¬†Sioux City Journal, Eastern Iowa is preparing for the Cedar River to flood after Sunday delivered an additional bout of rain on the area — the river has already risen six feet since then. City officials are setting up pumps, sandbagging the sewage plant, and closing levee gates. One of the most important preventative measures a home can have is a sump pump; property too close to the flooding river, though, would stand little chance. Luckily, earlier extreme floods in 1999 and 2008 have meant that few properties lay beyond the city’s levee protection.

So far, residents have had to be evacuated from about 150 homes that have been damaged or destroyed by the floodwater.