Midwest flooding: Devastation becomes visible as flood warnings extended to other areas

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A house teetered on the edge of an eroding riverbank near a dam in Minnesota collapsed into the river in the latest shocking example of extreme weather conditions grabbing the upper Midwest.

Video shows most of the home owned by the Barnes family falling into the flood-swollen Blue Earth River near Mankato Tuesday evening. The west abutment of the dam failed Monday, sending the river around the dam and eroding the bank where the house stood. The family had evacuated the house before the collapse.

“It’s been a very scary and difficult situation,” Jenny Barnes, whose family runs the nearby Dam Store, told KARE-TV Tuesday before the house fell into the river. She was also worried about the store.

“It’s our life too. It’s our business; it’s our livelihood. This is it for us,” Barnes said. “There’s no stopping it. He will go wherever he wants. He’ll take what he wants.

AP correspondent Julie Walker reports on severe weather across the Midwest.

Blue Earth County officials said Wednesday that there were dramatic changes around the dam overnight, with the river moving wider and deeper into the bank, and they are concerned about the integrity of the dam. a nearby bridge spanning the river.

Parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota have been besieged by flooding from torrential rains since last week, while also suffering from a scorching heatwave. Up to 46 centimeters of rain fell in some areas, pushing some rivers to record levels. Hundreds of people were rescued, homes were damaged and at least two people died after driving into flooded areas.

Tornado, flash flood and large hail warnings Tuesday night also added insult to injury for some people in the Midwest. The weather service also extended flood warnings Tuesday night to several rivers in the region. Earlier Tuesday, floodwaters broke levees in Iowa, creating dangerous conditions that prompted evacuations.

Preliminary information from the weather service shows that recent flooding has brought record river levels to more than a dozen locations in South Dakota and Iowa, surpassing previous crests by an average of about 3, 5 feet (0.5 meters). The Big Sioux River reached nearly 41 feet (12 meters) in Hawarden, Iowa, on Saturday and nearly 45 feet (14 meters) in Sioux City, Iowa, on Monday, surpassing previous highs of 5 to 7 feet (1.5 at 2.1 meters). , respectively.

In South Dakota, Kathy Roberts lost nearly everything she owned when she escaped flooding Sunday night with her cat and the clothes on her back. KTIV-TV reported.

“I heard screaming outside and I looked outside and I had neighbors who had water running in their house and the water was slowly coming up my driveway,” Roberts said. “Within eight minutes, I was leaving my house and walking through water that was over the running boards of my jeep.”


A tornado is observed near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. More severe weather is expected to move through the area Tuesday, potentially bringing large hail, damaging winds and even a brief tornado or two to parts of western and eastern Iowa. Nebraska, according to the National Weather Service. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette via AP)


A small American flag sits in a flooded yard in Waterville. Minnesota, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. A vast swath of land from eastern Nebraska and South Dakota to Iowa and Minnesota has been besieged by flooding from torrential rains since last week, while also being hit by a scorching heat wave. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)

In the residential subdivision where Roberts lived in North Sioux City, streets, utility poles and trees collapsed and some homes were swept away. There was no water, sewer, gas or electric service in the area, Union County Emergency Management said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said in a post on social platform X late Tuesday that people should stay out of the area unless escorted by public safety officers.

“We are working on a schedule for families to get their belongings back,” Noem said. “Meanwhile, downed power lines, sinkholes and other threats make it too dangerous to enter alone.”

The sheriff’s office in Monona County, near the Nebraska border, said the Little Sioux River had breached levees in several areas. In neighboring Woodbury County, the sheriff’s office posted drone video on Facebook showing the river bursting its banks and flooding rural Smithland. No injuries were immediately reported.

In the Sioux City, Iowa, area, water poured over the Big Sioux River levee, damaging hundreds of homes, officials estimated. And the local sewage treatment plant has been so overwhelmed by floodwaters that officials say they have to dump about a million gallons (3.8 million liters) of untreated sewage into the water every day. the Missouri River.

Forever Wildlife Lodge and Clinic, a nonprofit animal rescue organization in northwest Iowa, has responded to more than 200 calls since the floods began, said Amanda Hase, a certified wildlife rehabilitator. wildlife.

Hase described the flooding as “catastrophic” for Iowa’s wildlife, which is being swept out of their dens and injured by debris. She and other rehabilitators respond to calls for all kinds of species, from groundhogs to eaglets.

“I’ve never seen a situation this bad before,” she said.


Rachel Morsching sits Tuesday, June 25, 2024, on the flooded porch of her father Dean Roemhildt’s home in Waterville, Minnesota. Waters from nearby Lakes Tetonka and Sakatah have encroached on the city amid recent heavy rains. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)


Volunteer Tyron Berkenpas, an employee of the Representative Corporation in Sheldon, Iowa, removes a bag of flood-damaged items, Tuesday, June 25, 2024, from the basement of a home on East Second Street in Spencer, Iowa. Spencer, population about 11,400, is recovering after the Little Sioux River flooded much of the city last weekend. Officials say about 40 percent of the city’s properties were affected by the flooding. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)

As more areas flooded this week, some towns and villages were cleaning up after the waters receded while others downstream piled up sandbags and took other measures to protect against the swelling currents to come.

Many rivers, especially with additional rainfall, may not crest until later this week as floodwaters slowly flow into a network of rivers toward the Missouri and Mississippi. The Missouri will crest in Omaha on Thursday, said Kevin Low, a weather service hydrologist.


Jared Gerlock, left, and his son, Robbie, carry a trash can filled with waterlogged stuffed animals out of the flood-damaged basement of their home on East Second St. in Spencer, Iowa, Tuesday, June 25, 2024. (Tim Hynds/Sioux City Journal via AP)


The guts of a house near Rapidan Dam in Rapidan, Minn., are visible as waters of the Blue Earth River rush in, Monday, June 24, 2024. (Casey Ek/The Free Press via AP)


Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut, and Beck from Omaha, Nebraska. Associated Press writer Rick Callahan in Indianapolis contributed to this report.


This story has corrected the name of the river where the house collapsed. This is the Blue Earth River, not the Big Earth River.

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