Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Troops trying to buy Iowa town time as rising Missouri River forces the evacuation of 1,200 people - 7th June 2011

An Iowa town is in danger of being swept up by floodwaters as National Guard troops scramble to build a new barrier and stop a full breach of a Missouri River floodwall.

Huge sandbags were dropped in Hamburg yesterday as a temporary fix, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns the levee could not be repaired, making a full breach inevitable.

Officials have now ordered an evacuation of Hamburg’s roughly 1,200 residents.

Iowa is bracing for the river to spill up to two miles into the state during the flooding and Fremont County has set up an emergency shelter nearby for Hamburg residents.

‘We are committed to working together to avoid the loss of life and minimize damages," corps district commander, Col. Bob Ruch said in a statement.

Heavy snow this winter and rainfall in May have pushed reservoirs from Montana to South Dakota to their limits, leaving the corps in a desperate fight to relieve the pressure.

‘We anticipate these compromises rearing their ugly heads all up and down the levee system throughout this event, said Missouri emergency official Rhonda Wiley.

‘It's not a pretty picture.’

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said he believed the flooding would be the worst he's ever seen and portions of a highway running alongside the river would be closed eventually. Source