State officials today are starting their canvas of five flood-striken Iowa counties to assess damages. Iowa Emergency Management division administrator David Miller says they’ll be looking at homes and businesses damaged by flood waters. He hopes the water has receded by Thursday to the point where they can inspect roads and bridges to assess the damage to those structures.
"We’ll be busy working with local officials over the next few days to look at those damaged areas," Miller says. "If citizens were affected by the flood, I really encourage them to call their local emergency management office or coordinator so we know where to look." According to Miller, flying over flood-ravaged areas doesn’t provide the kind of information a ground-level inspection does.
"What we’re really looking at is: How high was the water on the structure? Is there structural damage?…Did you have a wall collapse or did you have water above the first floor?" Miller says. "…That sometimes is tough to tell from the air." The weather forecast’s been changing, but Miller says it appears the state will have dry weather for the next several days.
"You kind of knock on wood and hope that they’re not going to get dumped on in those areas," Miller says. River levels have started to go down as the water moves south and Miller says in Fremont County — in the southwest corner of the state — there’s still lots of water in low-lying areas.
"Still a little concerned and monitoring what’s going to come down the way as it goes through Shenandoah and down on into Hamburg," he says. In Montgomery County, mostly in the Red Oak area, about 50 homes were seriously flooded. In Harrison County, about 77 homes in the Missouri Valley area were hit by flood waters.
"They’ve got electricity, but they’ve got a number of homes that still don’t have gas turned back on," Miller says. "They still have some homes with two feet of water in the basement and of course the water was much higher than that when it moved through."