This Iowa Town is Entering its Third Month of Flooding and There’s No End in Sight

Judy and Ricardo Ortega say they are tired and feel like their freedom is gone.

The couple’s neighborhood in Pleasant Valley, Iowa, has been submerged for the past 58 days, and more floodwater is on the way.

“You’ll clean it up and then you’ll get four inches of mud and soot again. And you’re back to power washing and cleaning your house and vehicles again,” Ricardo Ortega said.

Pleasant Valley, which sits along the Mississippi River, floods every time the river crests, Ortega said.

As flooding enters its third month in the town, residents there have made habits of parking their cars on a hill, donning waterproof clothing when they go out and using kayaks to get around.

A flood warning remains in effect “until further notice” in Pleasant Valley and its surrounding areas, according to the National Weather Service.

“Major flooding is occurring and is forecast to continue,” the weather service said late Wednesday.

The target areas — Muscatine and Scott counties — also include Davenport, Iowa, where the Mississippi River broke through a temporary barrier last month, sending water rushing into the city’s downtown. The Mississippi River at Rock Island, by Davenport, reached a record crest of 22.70 feet earlier this month, with water rising so high it nearly covered some vehicles.

Flooding has been widespread in the central United States. As of Wednesday, severe weather and heavy rain had resulted in major flooding at 70 river gauges along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, with another 104 experiencing moderate flooding.

The American Red Cross has been responding to flooding in Illinois and Iowa since March 14, according to a statement from the organization. According to the National Weather Service, the Mississippi River at Le Claire — near Pleasant Valley — has a more than 90% chance of moderate flooding through mid-June.

The Red Cross currently has one shelter open and is delivering meals to areas hit hardest by floods.

“This relief effort in Illinois and Northwest Iowa is happening simultaneously as the Red Cross is providing comfort and support to people across multiple states as tornadoes and flooding continue to devastate communities,” the organization said in a statement.

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