Flood Waters Ravage Illinois and Iowa
Fears for Mississippi River as flood hit Iowa cleans up
Officials warily eyed the mighty Mississippi Monday swollen by days of flooding as waterlogged Iowan towns began a massive clean-up with damage set to run into billions of dollars.
With some 2,500 National Guard already deployed across the state trying to keep the floodwaters at bay, experts believe the Mississippi, the country's second longest river, could crest either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver warned the Mississippi would be the next battleground, as floodwaters from the state's Cedar, Iowa and Des Moines rivers poured into it.
"It's likely we'll see major flooding in every city on the border, from New Boston on down. We're very concerned about that," he said late Sunday.
The massive river, which passes through 10 states in its 3,734-kilometer (2,320-mile) journey from its source in Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico, defines the border between Iowa and Illinois.
Parts of Illinois are already under water, and officials there are bracing for the same kind of misery heaped on homes and businesses in Iowa, where 36,000 people have been evacuated, most from the town of Cedar Rapids.
"While this is a trying time for our state, every Iowan should know this: together, we will rebuild," Culver said Sunday, before touring the devastated areas on Monday.
More than 11 million people in nine midwestern states have been affected by the flooding and extreme weather of recent weeks, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
Iowa was by the far the hardest hit: 83 of its 99 counties have been declared disaster areas and more than 4.8 million sandbags were laid down to try to stem the tide.
Seventeen people have died as a result of the floods in Iowa since the start of the extreme weather on May 25, adding to another five deaths in neighboring states.
"It's some of the worst flooding I've seen since (Hurricane) Katrina" which hit New Orleans in August 2005, FEMA director David Paulison told CNN after touring the damage in Iowa.
Losses will likely be greater than they were in heavy floods which hit in 1993, experts told the Des Moines Register, when the damage and lost business from widespread flooding totaled about 2.1 billion dollars.
Some 750 million dollars worth of property, mostly homes, has already been swallowed by the waters in Cedar Rapids.
"We're talking two billion dollars to three billion to get this place back on its feet," Lee Clancey, president of Cedar Rivers chamber of commerce, told the newspaper after 400 blocks were submerged in the town.
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This is a tragedy for the Midwest and the country. How ironic that the entry below this one speaks of drought in California. It is said the floods happening now are worse than what was experienced in the last great Midwest flood. This combined with drought, glacier melt, and other weather anomolies in the United States and around the world speaks as a harbinger of global warming. Water and the lack of it are proving to be the overriding force in this world. Have we gotten the message yet?
NASA Images: Floods In Iowa