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Levee break, flash flooding leads to urgent evacuations in northern Iowa town

todayJune 22, 2024 2

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ROCK VALLEY, Iowa – A levee break along Iowa’s Rock River early Saturday morning led to a frantic evacuation in the town of Rock Valley in the dark of night as water levels suddenly began rising, flooding parts of town.The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Emergency, and city officials even took to sounding tornado sirens to get the town’s attention to the urgent situation at hand. “We are setting off sirens in (Rock Valley),” the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office posted on social media. “This means to evacuate your house if able.” Rock Valley city officials have been posting updated maps on their town’s social media feeds showing growing areas of evacuation orders as waters continue to rise. The sheriff’s office reported at least two bridges and road had washed out as dawn broke over Iowa.  Drone video shot by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office shows dozens of homes and buildings inundated with floodwaters.”We have boats and emergency personnel coming in from neighboring towns,” city officials posted on social media. “Please continue to stay home if you are not in the emergency evacuation areas. Plans are being made for further evacuations. We will continue to highlight areas of town on the map with anticipated evacuations.” HOW FLOODWATER CAN MAKE YOU VERY SICKA shelter was established at a local church. But as the waters rose, getting people there became more challenging.”Currently we have dive teams, swift boats and task force teams in the water,” city officials posted in an update later Saturday morning. “Using pickups, tractors, trucks or loaders is no longer an option for evacuation because of the water current and height. Please know all boats and teams are doing all they can to get to each and every one of your loved ones.”A rain gauge in Rock Valley reported over 6 inches of rain in the past 72 hours, while nearby towns of Ashton and Terril have reported around 8 inches of rain and Rock Rapids had just under a foot as multiple thunderstorms swept across the area. Some of those nearby towns were facing destructive flooding issues as well.Flooding along the Big Sioux River at Hawarden is forecast to exceed its record by 4 feet, causing mandatory evacuations in town. City officials say power is turned off to parts of town that are under water and the water and sewer treatment plant has shut down due to inundation. Officials are urging residents there not to use any water, including drinking or flushing toilets. Emergency officials also had their hands full in Iowa’s O’Brien County with widespread flooding and multiple rescues.”O’Brien County first responders have performed several water rescues of people trapped in their vehicles after being swept away,” county officials posted on social media. “The flooding has created significant challenges for first responders trying to get to these scenes. County roads and the Iowa DOT are doing their best to put up barricades but the widespread flooding has their resources stretched thin.”And in nearby Lyon County, flooding is being blamed for a train derailment near Alvord.  Nine train cars were knocked off the tracks around 4:30 a.m. Friday, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said. But no hazardous materials were spilled or involved.Iowa’s Gov. Kim Richards issued an emergency disaster proclamation for Sioux County, directing state resources to help Rock Valley and other flooded communities in Iowa.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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