Top NewsCrews race to shore up levees as floods engulf Midwestern cities

Crews race to shore up levees as floods engulf Midwestern cities

Midwestern cities raced this week to strengthen their levee systems as rising rivers engulfed homes, submerged farmland and led to daring water rescues in three states.

In Iowa, where hundreds of properties have been destroyed, rivers are receding in some places but still rising in others. In Minnesota, the National Guard was mobilized after being forced out by 18 inches of rain. In South Dakota, where one death was linked to flooding and some residents were advised to evacuate their homes, Gov. Christie Nome warned Sunday that “things are going to get worse before things get better.”

The county is currently at maximum capacity for water rescue operations,” Jason Westcott, director of emergency management for Union County, SD, said Sunday. “As we move further into this incident and it becomes more serious in this area, we won’t have the capacity to rescue people from their homes.”

The floods occurred following heavy rains for the past few days. As the land is already saturated, many creeks and rivers are overflowing. The Midwest has faced a variety of climate extremes over the past several years, including record flooding in 2019, a series of droughts, and a series of relentless rainstorms this month. Scientists say that as the planet warms due to climate change, such events will become more common.

Workers in Union County, in southeastern South Dakota, were working to protect a local water treatment plant earlier in the week by adding a ton of sandbags to the levees. It is reached by the Big Sioux River at nearby Sioux City, Iowa The highest level ever recorded On Sunday, Ms Nome warned people to stay away from floods.

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“It’s incredibly dangerous for them to be anywhere near this type of water flow that we’re seeing,” he said.

To the north, in Lincoln County, S.D., the state Department of Public Safety said an 87-year-old man died while trying to turn a utility all-terrain vehicle onto a closed road that had washed out on the shoulder.

In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds said recent rains have overwhelmed drainage systems, destroyed homes and swallowed up farm fields. He said the state’s Department of Natural Resources conducted 250 water rescues in a single day over the weekend, and at least 1,900 properties were affected in the state. Aerial photos of Rock Valley, a town of 4,000 people in northwest Iowa, showed several homes underwater.

“Businesses are closed. Main roads are affected. Hospitals, nursing homes and other care facilities were evacuated,” Ms Reynolds said. “Cities are without electricity, some without drinking water.”

In some areas, including Sioux Falls, SD and parts of northwest Iowa, water receded and property owners had a clear view of the damage. Elsewhere, the worst could be yet to come.

“That water will continue downstream, and areas to the south are set to continue to have record river levels,” Ms Reynolds said.

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