Sunday, August 15, 2010

Iowans reel from new flooding

James Pape in Disaster News Network: Residents across large portions of central and southeastern Iowa have begun the clean-up process in the wake of record flooding following three days of torrential rainfall. Flood waters drove hundreds from their homes in the Ames and Des Moines areas and left one teenager dead after the car she was riding in was washed from a rural road.

…In the state capital of Des Moines, flood-prone Four Mile Creek rose to more than 16 feet on Wednesday, some 4 feet above flood level, driving hundreds of people from their homes. By Friday, waters had receded to 7 feet, and crews were going into flooded areas to assess the damage, according to Jon Davis with Polk County Emergency Management.

“The crews are continuing to assess the safety of the flooded homes and apartments so we can give the green light to residents to return home and begin the clean-up,” Davis said. “We first need to make certain there is no structural damage or other health or safety issues that would put them at risk if they return.”

…Just north of Des Moines, crews in the city of Ames were spending the weekend getting the community’s drinking water system back on line following a major water line break that happened during the height of the flooding. John Dunn, the city’s water and pollution control director, said crews had been working literally around the clock to repair the break and purge the city’s water system of any potential pollutants.

…At the height of the flooding in Ames, Squaw Creek rose to a near-record level of 18.13 feet. The record is 18.5 feet. The South Skunk River, which runs along the eastern edge of the city, reached an all-time record flood level of 26.72 feet, eclipsing the old record of 25.6 feet. By midday Saturday, both the South Skunk River and Squaw Creek were back within their banks…

August 11, 2010 -- Duff Avenue in Ames, Iowa, is impassable as the waters of the Squaw Creek flood local businesses. Record flooding swamped the city after back-to-back-to-back storms. Jace Anderson/FEMA

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