Southwest Iowa officials are warning residents who’ve returned to areas that flooded this spring to be ready to evacuate as heavy rains upstream make their way down the Missouri River basin.
“They should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice, just in case. Don’t wait ’til the last minute. Have stuff ready in case we have to tell you to get out again,” Fremont County Emergency Management coordinator Mike Crecelius says. “I know people don’t want to hear that, but that’s the nature of what we’re dealing with here.”
Crecelius spoke Monday with the Army Corps of Engineers about repairs to local levees damaged by this spring’s flooding.
“They are fairly confident that the repairs that they have made to the levee will withstand the amount of water that we’re supposed to have down here by Friday,” Crecelius says. “My concern is…what happens if we have more rainfall in the local area or just north of us? Then that’s going to change things.”
This latest flooding threat comes as the county is slowly recovering from previous events in March and late May.
“Some of those people haven’t even been back in their because we’ve got to get the roads repaired for them to get back out there and in some places there’s still water,” Crecelius says.
Areas west of Hamburg and the Bartlett-McPaul vicinity have the greatest risk for additional flooding, as they are still mostly underwater. Mills County is also on high alert because of flooding. Mills County Emergency Management says elevated Missouri River levels will cause increased flood risk for the southwest portion of the county. Officials say exact effects of the river’s level are hard to determine, so extreme caution is advised.
Some residents in the northwest portion of Pottawattamie County have been warned to watch the rising Missouri River.
“Unfortunately this isn’t anybody’s first rodeo. We’ve been dealing with this since March. Many of these folks who live along the river had to deal with this back in 2011,” says Pottawattamie County Emergency Management director Doug Reed.
Interstates 29 and 680 could be impacted.
“We anticipate losing some of our secondary road systems up in the northwest part of the county along with our threat to the interstate,” Reed says. “So, as always, that means you might not be able to get back to your property it or if you stay too long you might not be able to get out of it or we might not be able to get to you in a timely fashion should there be an issue.”
More than 10 inches of rain fell last week in areas of South Dakota and National Weather Service forecasters say there hasn’t been a day this month that rain hasn’t fallen somewhere in the Missouri River basin
(By Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah)