Eastern Iowa is dealing with massive flooding due to extreme overnight torrential rains, with additional heavy rain in the forecast for today. Residents have been dealing with flooded basements and homes as the rain totals began to rise.
The areas that were hit including Cedar Rapids, experienced massive sewer backups, and it also washed out several local roads. The torrential rains hit around Highway 20 at 9 P.M on Sunday.
Highway 1 in Linn County is still closed due to flash flood damage, and traffic is being detoured from Highway 151 to Highway 13, and then south to Highway 30 back to east Mount Vernon, according to the Linn County Sherriff’s reports.
The Mercy Medical Center has remained closed as the emergency department staff works to clean up the water that came through the Eighth Avenue entrance. Any residents who need emergency medical attention are being sent to St. Lukes, although Mercy is set to open their doors today. The fifth flood patient tower is also experiencing damage, as the roof drain failed. Crews are rushing to make repairs so that the hospital can re-open their doors.
A Cedar Rapids police report stated that several roads in the area were completely washed away due to the torrential flooding that occurred overnight. Many fire department and police department crews spent their night rescuing stranded motorists, as well as trying to clear the roadways. There were many parked cars that flooded out, were washed into the road, or even carried into resident’s yards due to floodwater.
A Public Safety Spokesman stated that these roads are closed by means of barricades until repairs can be made, and there are many vehicles in the road that still need to be cleared away. The Police force are urging residents to be cautious this morning because there are still issues that have yet been reported.
The torrential rains sent area rivers and streams that were already high from the recent rain, up significantly. The observed water levels in the Cedar River, in Cedar Rapids, rose more than two feet in two hours last night. The widespread rain totals from the rainstorm totaled at about two to six inches. There is also a threat for additional thunderstorms with more heavy rain in the forecast.
Also, reported winds of about 80 mph that were brought on by a derecho left more than 95,000 customers without power. A local station in Cedar Rapids reported that the storms left damage in just about every neighborhood. Earlier in the day, a possible tornado was reported near Stuart. A lot of damage to houses and other building structures were reported in Warren County as storms moved throughout the area. In Western Iowa, storms dumped giant sized hail up to 4 inches in diameter in Rockwell City, and Harlan reported 3 inch diameter hail, which equals out to be slightly larger than the size of a baseball.
The Governor of Iowa has declared a state of emergency for Cedar, Guthrie, Jones, Adair, and Linn Counties. This means that state resources can be used in responding to ongoing flooding occurrences and severe weather. This derecho came one day after severe weather brought on heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 70 mph. A highway in Fairfax was partially collapsed, and part of a highway near Mount Vernon was also partially collapsed.
Stay tuned to your local weather authority or The Weather Channel for any updates in your particular area.