What a week it has been for Americans living in the midwest. Thousands of people have been evacuated, or forced to flee their homes, across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Michigan due to widespread flooding and brutal storms.
Iowa’s Gov. Chet Culver has estimated it could cost his state billions of dollars to repair the damage.
Officials in Des Moines, the state of Iowa’s capital and largest city, issued voluntary evacuation orders Friday to people living downtown and near levees along the banks of the cresting Des Moines River.
Days of heavy rain across the U.S. Midwest have swollen rivers in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Michigan. Thousands have already fled their homes before the surging flood waters.
The Des Moines River was just centimetres below the tops of levees, officials said, while urging downtown businesses to shut and people living in flood-prone areas to move to higher ground.
Severe weather has plagued the state all this week.
A tornado struck a boy scout camp in central Iowa Wednesday, killing four people and forcing dozens to flee for their lives.
On Thursday, the Cedar River in eastern Iowa poured over its banks. forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 homes, causing a railroad bridge to collapse and leaving cars under water on downtown streets.
Officials estimated that 100 blocks were under water in the town of Cedar Rapids, where several days of sandbagging work could not hold back the rain-swollen river. Rescuers used boats to reach many stranded residents, and people could be seen dragging suitcases up closed highway exit ramps to escape the water.
“We’re just kind of at God’s mercy right now, so hopefully people that never prayed before this, it might be a good time to start,” Linn County Sheriff Don Zeller said.
rivers in Iowa and other Midwest states forced evacuations and
disrupted the region’s economy on Friday with fears of worse to come
from fragile levees and more rain.
A Cedar Rapids hospital was flooded and evacuated its patients after
a levee break on the Cedar River turned the downtown area into a
shallow lake. Thousands were forced to leave their homes in the worst
Midwest flooding in 15 years.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said the damage to his state could cost billions of dollars.