The Heat Is Online

Iowa Town Under 3-4 Feet of Water

Rivers ready to burst in Iowa
Donna Pistilli Sauer, (TWC) May 21, 1999

Heavy rain added insult to injury Friday in Iowa, where residents have been working day and night all week to protect their towns from rising floodwaters.

In one of the hardest hit towns, Anamosa, Iowa, hundreds of people are fighting to hold back the Wapsipinicon River that crested 10 feet above flood stage earlier this week.

High school students are out of class to help pile sandbags onto a make shift levee. Even prisoners from the nearby men's reformatory are filling and stacking sandbags as fast as they can.
There has been a little seepage, but it seems to be working overall, local media reported.

Jamie Barroso, a resident at an apartment complex being protected by the levee, is concerned about its stability. "They say it might break but they are not for sure," she said as she packed her belongings. "So
just in case it does, I am going to move it all."

The flooding in Iowa forced 1,500 people from their homes this week and left dozens of roads impassible. Nine counties have been declared state disaster areas and are under consideration for federal aid.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and local churches are providing food and shelter to those in need. Mental health counselors are on the scene to help residents deal with the trauma of returning to their mud-soaked homes to find nearly everything in a state of ruin.

Rain fell at a rate of an inch per hour in some portions of the waterlogged state Friday morning. Meteorologists at The Weather Channel forecast rain to persist for much of the day as the storm system near the area moves slowly eastward. Another storm is poised to produce more rain in Iowa this weekend.

Storms flood towns in northeast Iowa
By Associated Press, 05/18/99
The Boston Globe, May 18, 1999

MANCHESTER, Iowa - As western Iowa recovered from tornadoes, northeastern Iowans fled their homes yesterday as creeks topped their banks and a dam was being eaten away on the Maquoketa River.

Tornadoes skipped across western Iowa on Sunday, killing two people, and were followed by flooding in eastern Iowa as thunderstorms rolled across northern Iowa Sunday afternoon.
Another storm hit Sunday night and continued to drench the area yesterday.

In Dunkerton, people were evacuating with little more than clothes stuffed in plastic bags to escape the overflowing Crane Creek.

''The post office, city hall, and police department, a church and all the businesses are in 3 to 4 feet of water,'' Sheriff's Sergeant John Keefe said.

About 200 people were evacuated from Manchester after rising water began to eat away the earthen sides of the Quaker Mills dam on the Maquoketa River.
The Turkey River in eastern Iowa received up to 7 inches of rain Sunday, and in the city of Elkport, located at the confluence of the Turkey and Volga rivers, the water supply was contaminated by the flooding.

The state was sending bottled water to the area, said Governor Tom Vilsack, who declared five eastern counties as disaster areas.
Dunkerton resident Katie Mostek waded through water yesterday morning to help save books at the city's library, where flood waters began soaking the floor.

As Mostek walked through the downtown, she saw a man wading in the water pulling a boat with children inside behind him.

''There were people all over trying to get out of the water,'' she said.
Residents in western Iowa were clearing up from the debris caused by Sunday's tornadoes. Nine counties reported damage from the storms.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army had response teams in hard-hit Logan early yesterday.
Two people who fled a graduation party near Logan were killed in the tornadoes. They were Julie Pali, 15, of Bellevue, Neb., and Kathline Fugate, 38, of Logan.

This story ran on page A06 of the Boston Globe on 05/18/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.