NBC News and news services, June. 12, 2008
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said storm and water damage to infrastructure will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as dozens of bridges have been damaged or destroyed. Nine rivers were at or near record levels, he said.
Rain was expected to taper off Friday, but then another storm front was likely to move in by Sunday night.
"It hits everything. Colleges are shut down, stores, it's devastating," said Lisa Fox, vice president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.
The evacuations in
"Were seeing very substantial flooding," added Craig Hanson, the citys public works maintenance manager.
The new evacuations follow a 150-foot breach in an earthen levee early Thursday.
The Cedar and other rivers across flood-ravaged
5 inches overnight
Storms brought up to 5 inches of rain across west central
An army of sandbagging volunteers continued to wage a battle against the state's rising rivers. Gov. Chet Culver has declared 55 of the state's 99 counties as disaster areas. Nine rivers are at or above historic flood levels.
Meteorologist Rod Donavon of the National Weather Service said the water flowing into the
Hundreds of people in
"This has been a remarkable onslaught of weather everything from flooding, unbelievable rain and of course tornadoes all descending at once," Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told reporters near the scout camp.
Chertoff said government relief would be forthcoming but the department also needed to keep some resources in reserve with the onset of hurricane season.
Officials hoped sandbags would hold back floodwaters slowly moving south and eventually into the Mighty Mississippi.
In the town of Vinton Wednesday, inmates in black-and-white striped uniforms were rescued from a jail by boat as the raging Cedar River flooded the town and forced evacuations, there and in nearby Waterloo.
This year's spring deluge led some to compare it to the disaster of 1993 when the
Corn prices hit a record high again Thursday and the short-term outlook did not look good.
"The only thing changing with this weather pattern is that we're going from wet and mild to wet and cool," said Mike Palmerino, forecaster with DTN Meteorlogix.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it was closing locks and dams on 200 miles of the upper portion of the vital commercial waterway on Thursday, possibly through early July. The locks must be closed to remove and store electric motors that move lock gates and control valves, the corps said.
'Major flooding' likely on
The National Weather Service predicted crests of 10 feet above flood stage and higher over the next two weeks. Most of the towns along the
The river was 1.5 feet above flood stage Wednesday at
"This is major flooding," weather service hydrologist Karl Sieczynski said of the
Meteorologist Bill Karins of NBC's WeatherPlus added: "We are in the middle of a historic flood event in the
"The story along the
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.