Midwest flooding worsened on Tuesday with the addition of more torrential rain. The rains spawned high water that swept away a teenager in Iowa, caused a traffic nightmare near one of the United States’ busiest airports, and threatened to swamp a Missouri town for the fifth time in less than 10 years.
Eastern Iowa and northern Illinois saw more than three inches of rain Monday night and Tuesday morning, with some areas reporting up to five inches, according to ABC News. Six Midwest states were dealing with significant flooding and the Mississippi River is expected to reach flood stage by the weekend along many Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri communities.
River flooding could cause highways to close, potentially top levees, and threaten some homes and businesses. National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fuchs noted that the Mississippi River’s rise came suddenly after the thunderstorms across the Midwest in the last month.
Fuchs explained, “The spring wasn’t that terribly bad. It was minor flooding, kind of ho hum. We had a very wet June, and it looks like, initially at least, July will follow suit.”
So far, the Midwest flooding has been blamed for the deaths of two people in Indiana and two in Iowa, according to Yahoo! News. In Indiana, trees fell on homes early Tuesday, killing a 14-year-old boy in Winona Lake and a 64-year-old man at Big Long Lake.
Rescue crews in Iowa recovered the body of 17-year-old Logan Blake on Tuesday afternoon after he was swept away in a storm drain in Cedar Rapids Monday night. A man also died in Iowa when a building collapsed in high winds.
The Kennedy Expressway was overwhelmed by the sudden rain and crews were forced to close all but one lane of traffic heading to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for several hours Tuesday. The lane closures were blamed on standing water. Some desperate travelers abandoned their taxis in favor of hauling their luggage the rest of the way to the airport.
Several towns along the Mississippi River are preparing for flooding this week by stacking sand bags to protect homes and businesses. Clarksville, Missouri, located about 70 miles north of St. Louis, expects to see the Mississippi crest nearly 9 feet above flood stage. In four of the past eight years, the scenic town has been forced to spend between $400,000 and $700,000 on sandbagging operations. The entire annual city budget is only $350,000.
Mayor Jo Ann Smiley explained that, despite the threat to homes and downtown businesses, there will be no organized sandbagging this year. She stated, “The city has no funding to deal with this flood. Individuals and business owners are on their own.”
Homeowners and merchants are using sand and bags left over from last year to fortify their properties.
Midwest flooding has caused at least $32 million in damage to public roads, bridges, and parks in Minnesota, and the tally is expected to rise as the flood waters recede.
[Image by nile red]