High River Levels Threaten Further Floods in Midwest

Communities across the Upper Midwest have been enduring floods since storms on Monday 16 June 2014 dumped huge amounts of rain on parts of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.

After a week of record levels of rainfall in some areas, forecasters say that there is still more heavy rain to come. With levels of may rivers already extremely high, residents with homes near rivers must prepare for the worst.

Currently levels of the Big Sioux River, Ocheyedan River, Little Sioux River, Turkey River, Cedar River and the Mississippi River around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are all causing concern.

South Dakota

A main area of concern in South Dakota is North Sioux City. Authorities and volunteers have helped build up temporary flood defences to help hold back flood waters from the Big Sioux River. Levels of the river are expected to exceed previous record highs set in 1969.

Iowa

The Big Sioux River is also threatening communities across the state line in Iowa in the town of Akron. However at the time of writing it seems that the river has crested there at a record 25.58 feet (previous record was 23.4 feet) Levels currently stand at just over 23 feet and should continue to fall so long as the rain holds off.

Levels of the Big Sioux River at Akron, Iwoa. Image and data from National Weather Service
Levels of the Big Sioux River at Akron, Iwoa. Image and data from National Weather Service

Sadly weather forecasters say that more rainfall is likely in an already drenched north eastern Iowa over the weekend. This could also spell trouble for levels of the Cedar River near Osage, which stood at almost 2 feet above flood stage at 23.44 feet on Thursday. The Turkey River at Elkader is expected to crest some time today (Friday 20 June 2014) at 18.2 feet, which is also above flood stage

In Iowa a state of emergency has been declared in Franklin and Wright counties after severe flooding there. In similar circumstances, Hancock and Winnebago counties have requested a disaster declaration.

Minnesota

Areas of southern Minnesota have also seen huge amounts of rain throughout the week. Record amounts of 3.95 inches of rain fell at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday 19 June 2014. This is the highest amount recorded for any single day in June.

The heavy rain has left some rivers in Minnesota at dangerously high levels, including the Mississippi near Minneapolis, Aitkin and Fort Ripley. In all three of those locations the river where currently stands above flood stage. The Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis has also recorded record high levels.

Earlier today Govenor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency in 35 Minnesota counties. More rainfall is forecast to be on the way for much of Minnesota.