Homes flood as Missouri River overtops, breaches levees

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Hundreds of homes have flooded in northwest Missouri after the Missouri River overtopped and breached several levees following heavy rain and snowmelt upstream, local officials said today.

Many homes in the mostly rural area were inundated with 6 to 7 feet of water, Holt County Emergency Management Director Tom Bullock said. He noted that one couple was rescued in a helicopter.

Residents in parts of southwest Iowa were forced from their homes yesterday because of the flooded river, which has also displaced hundreds of people in Nebraska after a massive late-winter storm hit the Midwest last week.

The Missouri Department of Transportation reports about 100 flood-related road closures, including a stretch of Interstate 29.

Heavy rain falling atop frozen ground along with snowmelt has led to dangerously high water in creeks and rivers across several Midwestern states, with the Missouri River hitting record-high levels in many areas.

At least two deaths were blamed on flooding, and two other men have been missing for days.

Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in Nebraska, where floodwaters reached record levels at 17 locations. Although river depths were starting to level off in Nebraska yesterday, the water was so high in other areas that serious flooding was expected for several days.

In southwest Iowa, the Missouri River reached a level in Fremont County that was 2 feet above a record set in 2011. People in the small towns of Bartlett and Thurman were being evacuated as levees were breached and overtopped.

“This wasn’t a gradual rise,” County Emergency Management Director Mike Crecelius said. “It’s flowing fast, and it’s open country — there’s nothing there to slow it down.”

Nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated at eight Iowa locations since flooding began late last week, said Lucinda Parker of Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management.