State officials are keeping an eye on the waterways on the western and eastern borders of the state as we enter “flood season.” Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) administrator, General Derek Hill, joined the governor today at his weekly news conference to talk about preparations for potential flooding. Hill says the latest information shows elevated river levels on the Big Sioux River in western Iowa as a result of snow melt.
“Crest is expected on the Big Sioux River early this week, with mostly moderate flooding expected. The Big Sioux at the city of Akron should crest today, nearing reach major flood stage,” Hill says. He says the state has talked with Akron officials to make them award of the flooding potential and the availability of supplies if needed. Hill says eastern Iowa should also be on notice for potential flooding.
Hill says the Mississippi River is expected to reach flood stage later this week and the flooding is expected to continue into mid-April. He says “there is the potential for major flooding to occur at most sites along the river in Iowa.” Hill says significant rainfall in the coming weeks could impact the river levels and push them higher than expected. Hill says state officials have been using the flood forecasts to build stocks of supplies and planning to be able to deploy supplies and staff to help.
He says they will continue to work with officials at all levels as the situation unfolds. Hill says they have been working closely with county officials along the Mississippi River. He says the city of Davenport and other cities in Scott County are working with citizens to fill sandbags and prepare for the flooding. Hill says levee improvements in Muscatine County have left them “in good shape,” and they expect minimal impact. He says Des Moines County Two Rivers Management District believes they are well prepared, while the city of Burlington has purchased large plastic containers known as Hesco Barriers that can be filled faster than sandbags. Other communities downriver are also discussin plans. Hill says there are three steps all Iowans should take during flood season. The first is to create an emergency supply kit.
Hill says that kit should include all the things you need to take with you if you need to leave home for a few days. That includes prescriptions and important papers. The second step is to have an emergency plan and know where you will go if you have to evacuate your home.
The plan should include a way to contact your relatives if you do evacuate. Hill says the third step is to be aware of the events happening in the community so you are prepared for change. He says you should know where you can go to find out information on flooding and other events.
For more on information on family preparedness, go to: www.BeReadyIowa.org.