Midwest flooding costs increasing, with $1.6B damage in Iowa

Road closure at Lewis Avenue and Maple Street in Watertown Minnesota

Road closure at Lewis Avenue and Maple Street in Watertown Minnesota

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say it is too early to begin assessing total damage from the flood.

Torrential showers over hundreds of square miles of melting snowpack produced record volumes of runoff that poured into the Missouri just above the Gavins Point Dam where the river divides Nebraska from South Dakota, almost 400 miles upstream from Kansas City.

Because land masses are saturated with water, more rains could run right over them without being absorbed, increasing the flooding risk.

Police video from Bellevue, Nebraska shows the magnitude of flooding in the area.

The agency forecasts flood risk by accounting for how much snow is left to melt, areas experiencing drought, how saturated soils are with moisture, the depth of frozen soil, the height of rivers, and expected precipitation. Buchanan and its neighboring counties have been ravaged by this round of flooding.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, who asked the president Thursday to expedite the disaster declaration, said Trump's "timely action "will be instrumental to Iowa's recovery" from what is projected to be $1.6 billion in disaster-related damage". Residents of Elwood, Kansas, were evacuated due to rising river levels, KMBC reported. Because of changes in the Missouri River, the source of Kansas City's drinking water, KC Water failed to meet enhanced treatment technique standards for turbidity during March for the treatment of Cryptosporidium. Flooding has caused an estimated $480 million in damage to homes, $300 million to businesses and $214 million to agricultural interests, Ms. Reynolds said in her letter to Mr. Trump. Property losses were estimated at more than $3 billion in those two states. Additional damage is to levees.

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Officials from other states affected by the flooding, including Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota and IL, have not yet released damage estimates. President Trump has approved a federal disaster declaration for Nebraska, and one is pending for Iowa.

More towns are evacuating as the flooded Missouri River seeps over and through busted levees.

Record floodwaters that submerged vast stretches of Nebraska and Iowa farmland along the Missouri River crested on Friday at the waterfront city of St. Joseph, Missouri, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents from low-lying areas.

"As a result of the river elevations falling to 31 feet this morning, along with the continued receding levels, the evacuation order for the city of St. Joseph and Buchanan County have been lifted", city staff said in a press release. It was expected to reach Kansas City on Sunday.

Floods were unleashed by last week's "bomb cyclone" storm, which dumped torrential rains on top of hundreds of square miles of the snow-covered Plains, sending record flows cascading into the Missouri River watershed.

Rainfall and some snowmelt spurred flooding in recent weeks that's blamed in three deaths so far, with two men in Nebraska missing for more than a week.

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