Iowa Total Flood Losses Near $1.6B

Missouri Governor Declares Emergency, as Corps Monitors River Basin

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The majority of levees along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri have been breached (areas in red). (Graphic courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Iowa's agriculture losses are tabbed at a preliminary $214 million with total flooding losses at about $1.6 billion, according to a request by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to President Donald Trump for a major disaster declaration on Thursday.

In a letter to the president, Reynolds asked for public and individual assistance for 57 counties along the Missouri River and in other areas of Iowa. The request details damage to agriculture, homes, businesses and levees.

A funding request through FEMA's Public Assistance Program for the repair or replacement of public infrastructure, including roads and bridges, was made for the counties of Adair, Allamakee, Audubon, Black Hawk, Boone, Bremer, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dallas, Decatur, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jasper, Kossuth, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O'Brien, Osceola, Page, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Tama, Union, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury and Wright.

Local emergency management coordinators estimate the damage eligible for funding under the Public Assistance Program at $77.4 million.

Reynolds asked for individual assistance for Crawford, Fremont, Harrison, Ida, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Plymouth, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Woodbury counties.

Iowa's request placed initial estimates of minor damage to 23,540 structures and major damage or destruction to 1,201 structures. The governor also requested funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities across the state.

On Thursday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote in a letter to Trump that the damage is beyond the state's capability to fix.

"The governor determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments, and supplementary federal assistance is necessary to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster," Grassley wrote.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, wrote a letter to Trump on Friday in support of the state's declaration.

"I've spent much of this week on the ground in Iowa surveying the damage and meeting with constituents and local, state, and federal officials," she said. "The devastation caused by the flooding is incomprehensible. I respectfully ask you to approve Gov. Reynolds' request as expeditiously as possible."

During a Missouri River Basin stakeholder call on Friday, representatives with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said water releases at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota remain at 24,000 cubic feet per second. The goal is to reduce releases down to 20,000 cfs as the pool at the dam starts to fall. As of Friday morning, Corps officials said the water is beginning to drop.

The Corps said it doesn't expect gauges along the basin to rise in the coming days to the record levels seen this past week.

Corps officials are monitoring the Big Sioux and Vermillion rivers in eastern South Dakota as snow has been melting. The Big Sioux has been rising and is forecast to fall in the next week or so.

MISSOURI DECLARATION

On Thursday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency in response to growing floods in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

"The rising floodwaters are affecting more Missouri communities and farms, closing more roads and threatening levees, water treatment plants and other critical infrastructure," Parson said in a news release. "We will continue to work closely with our local partners to assess needs and provide resources to help as Missourians continue this flood fight and as we work to assist one another."

Parson was joined by Rep. Sam Graves, Major General Stephen Danner, Missouri Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, and State Emergency Management Agency Director Ron Walker on a tour of flood damage in Atchison, Holt and Buchanan counties.

On Wednesday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol rescued several people from homes and a stranded boat in and around Craig, where a temporary levee failed on Wednesday.

On Thursday, ongoing sandbagging efforts continued at a water treatment plant in Forest City in Holt County.

Read Iowa's disaster request here: https://governor.iowa.gov/…

View gauges across the Missouri River basin and forecasts here: https://www.weather.gov/…

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

(ES/AG)

Todd Neeley