PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds was back in western Iowa Monday, touring flood damage for the second time this spring.
The governor toured Pacific Junction and Hamburg, two of the towns inundated by the Missouri River. The levees were already compromised due to flooding back in March before recent heavy rains pushed the river back into those towns.
The governor says despite another setback, she’s noted that people aren’t giving up.
“These are the most resilient individuals I’ve seen and just the tenacity and the determination. But they’re tired…you know they’re just tired, but they’re still fighting the fight and they’re telling us what they need. They’re looking for ways that they can protect what they have left so you know they are not packing up their bags and leaving, they are here for the long haul,” says Reynolds.
Farmers in the town of Hamburg did manage to patch one breach temporarily last week. That patch continues to hold.
HAMBURG, Iowa- The rising Missouri River has people in Hamburg scrambling to get ready for yet another flood. The entire town was flooded back in March, after the river spared the town mostly back in 2011.
Now local crews have rebuilt an earthen levee with survey help from the Army Corps of Engineers. Also a brand new double-width Hesco Barrier has been put up across the downtown area. Many of the buildings south of the Hesco barrier as still flooded out, and have yet to be rehabilitated. Those buildings north of the barrier did get water in March, but are trying to come back.
“We’re trying to get back to normal as much as we can,” said Phil Kuhr, of the Stoner Drug Store. “We’re open for business that we can do the prescriptions over the counter meds, the fountain is not open yet.”
The store is known for it’s antique style soda fountain. Around six inches of water inside Stoner Drug kept the business closed for two months. It reopened last Tuesday.
Rising water has again cut off small towns in Fremont County.
“Right now we cannot we can no longer as of two days ago, access McPaul, you cannot access Bartlett, you cannot access Percival, you cannot access Highway 2 Sapp Brothers area, said Mike Crecelius, Fremont County Emergency Manager. “During conference call this morning and found the Corps of Engineers 75,000 ft.³ per second is going to go through the summer, so that’s another point of concern the river is going to be running high all summer long.”
Crecelius said some dredge units came up river to repair the levees, have been unable to work due to high water.
“We’re really going to need some bug spray here before long, with all this water there’s gonna be a lot of mosquitoes among other things floating around in the air,” said Crecelius.
HAMBURG, Iowa- Residents and businesses in Hamburg are now free to begin cleaning up flood damage.
“In Hamburg yesterday the Mayor lifted the evacuation order for the south end of Hamburg allowing for people to go back into their homes and to continue to clean up,” said Mike Crecelius, Fremont County Emergency Manager. “You cannot go west of Hamburg, you cannot go west of Bluff Road in Fremont County, the Board of Supervisors has determined that area will remain under evacuation.”
Now homeowners and businesses could spend time removing flood debris.
“We moved here from Missouri so yes this is the first time I’ve experienced a flood of this magnitude,” said Jeremiah Tomlin, who moved into his home nine days before the flood. “Also it’s the first time I was actually a full-fledged homeowner.”
Also, water has risen in the towns of Percival and Bartlett, and also at the Sapp Brothers Truck Stop at Highway 2 and I-29. Part of the cause of the flood was rail crews repairing flooded rail beds, and creating a new dam
“Saturday when I called them to let them know that Percival was re-flooding, that the water was coming across 200th street there North of Percival, they ceased their operations of plugging their holes and working on the railroad, they started digging out back underneath the rails they’d filled in,” said Crecelius.
The Fremont County Emergency Manager said he appreciates all the help he’s gotten from State government, and from people in Iowa and around the nation. He’s not optimistic yet, as there is still snow melt to come downstream.
When you look at the fact that we have 55 breaches in the levee from Missouri Valley Iowa to St. Jo Missouri and 14 of them are in my county,” said Crecelius. “The Corps of Engineers has awarded the contract to repair the breach at Percival and also the breach in Hamburg.”