Southwest Iowa Readies for More Floods

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SIDNEY, Iowa — In March of 2019, record amounts of water came down from the Platte River in Nebraska, flowing into the Missouri River. The flood waters inflicted millions of dollars worth of damage on communities from Sioux City all the way south to the Missouri state line. Interstate 29 was closed. Many roads suffered heavy damage from water flowing over and around bridges and highway beds. Many flood protection levees had holes open up, causing water to flow into towns and over roads and fields.

Since then, many roads have been repaired and some homes are being rebuilt, but the damage is not yet fully restored as predictions from the Army Corps of Engineers call for more flooding in 2020.

"On Dec. 5, when the Army Corps of Engineers had their meeting in Nebraska City at the Lewis and Clark Center, Mr. Ramos stood up there and told everybody point blank, 'you're going to flood next spring,'" said Mike Crecelius, emergency manager for Fremont County. "Just preparing for the worst and praying for the best because that's all I can do at this time."

The emergency manager has been meeting with state officials on how the county can be prepared whenever the flood does come. In the mean time, he is ready to let people know if evacuations are required.

“We’ll have people out there inspecting levees, just like last time,” said Crecelius. “Once they see an issue and call me, the commission, supervisors and I will make a decision.”

The prospect for more high water has FEMA reminding residents to think about getting flood insurance. Patrice Northam of Council Bluffs kept flood waters out of her first floor apartment last year. Though she can’t really afford it, she purchased flood insurance on her credit card.

“This year I said I can’t go through another year just being terrified every day,” said Northam. “Am I going to hear the sirens, will the water rise when I’m sleeping, and I don’t hear the sirens, where we go?”

“If you’re going to get flood insurance, now is the time to do it,” said Crecelius. “You have to have insurance 30 days prior to the event taking place.”

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