Home News KLEM News for Monday, June 24

KLEM News for Monday, June 24



New flood records were set across northwest Iowa Saturday and Sunday, along the Big Sioux, Rock and Floyd Rivers.
Le Mars had a crest of 29 feet, which was just below the record crest of 26.4 feet set in 2018.
River gauges along the Rock, Big Sioux, and Floyd Rivers set record crests at Rock Rapids, Rock Valley, Hawarden, Akron, Alton, and Merrill.  In some cases, the new record crests exclipsed the previous record by several feet.

Record floodwaters isolated Le Mars for a time, and the city is just now starting to weigh the impact of the flood.

Le Mars Fire Rescue Chief Dave Schipper said during their flood preparations, they discovered water would come in even higher than predicted.


At that point, crews moved quickly to protect key infrastructure.


Schipper gives an example of how fast flood waters rose Saturday.


All roads were closed in an out of Le Mars were closed late Saturday, and were reopened Sunday, as flood waters subsided.

Chief Schipper says there were no injuries, and most infrastructure such as the city waste treatment plant and airport facilities, held in place.

The city handled the emergency well.


Chief Schipper says city officials will meet to begin the work of assessing the damage, and begin initial discussions on future mitigation of floods.

Sunday, Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Plymouth County, and nineteen others that are suffering from flood impacts.

Reynolds is asking President Biden to activate federal assistance for individuals as well as low interest Small Business Administration loans for businesses in nine counties. These counties include Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon, Osceola, Clay, Dickinson, Buena Vista and Emmet.

She’s also seeking federal help for local governments in 22 counties that are dealing with damage to public infrastructure and the cost of removing debris. These include Plymouth, the northern three tiers of counties in northwest Iowa, and Woodbury.

Governor Reynolds and Lt Governor Adam Gregg, a Hawarden native, will tour flood sites in northwest Iowa today.  They will meet with city officials and community leaders, beginning in Hawarden at 9-30, then Rock Valley, Rock Rapids, Spencer, and Cherokee.


Governor Kim Reynolds says flood related losses in northwest Iowa are staggering and she is asking for a presidential disaster declaration to trigger federal aid for flood victims.

Governor Reynolds says the preliminary estimate is at least 19-hundred properties in 22 counties have been swamped by flood waters and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.


Over a thousand Iowans stayed in emergency shelters Saturday night. By Sunday, at least 10 communities had no drinking water. “The seven day forecast calls for more rain,” Reynolds said, “which means flooding may continue to be an issue and may impact other parts of the state as well.” Sixteen river gauges in northwest Iowa have already recorded historic flood levels. On Sunday night, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management director John Benson met with local officials about making preparations in the other places where those flood waters are headed.


Benson says the key is protecting critical infrastructure, like drinking water plants.


Last week over 10 inches of rain fell in northwest Iowa and the nearby river basins in Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota that drain into northwest Iowa. Donna Dubberke, the meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Johnston, says that’s eight times the average amount.


The governor is urging Iowans who get evacuation orders to heed those warnings. Helicopters were deployed to rescue residents after a levee was breached in Rock Valley and Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff performed 250 water rescues throughout northwest Iowa on Saturday.

Iowa Department of Transportation director Scott Marler says his agency has moved 23 pumps into northwest Iowa to try to clear water from roadways. On Sunday, the Iowa D-O-T moved five-thousand Hescobarriers to build temporary levies in key locations.

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Governor Reynolds says Rock Valley may be unable to quickly revive its drinking water plant and the Iowa National Guard may step in with a temporary system that produces drinking water for the community.



The head of Iowa’s Emergency Management agency says flooding will not cease and is likely to spread to other areas of the state. Sixteen river gauges in northwest Iowa have already recorded historic flood levels. On Sunday night, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management director John Benson met with local officials about making preparations in the other places where those flood waters are headed. The seven-day forecast for Iowa calls for more rain.



The Iowa Supreme Court is likely to issue a ruling on Friday that will determine whether most abortions will be outlawed in Iowa. Last July, Governor Reynolds signed a law to ban abortions around the sixth week of a pregnancy, when fetal activity can be detected, but the law was quickly put on hold due to a legal challenge. Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird says the 2022 U-S Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade made Iowa’s so-called “Heartbeat Law” a legal possibility. And it could become a legal certainty if the Iowa Court upholds it. Bird spoke Saturday at the “March for Life” at the Iowa Capitol. Her office defended the six week abortion ban in court.



Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says foreign adversaries have a proven track record of using apps and websites to secretly collect data from Americans, and he’s introducing legislation that aims to thwart such efforts. Grassley says his bill would require websites and apps owned by China, North Korea, Russia and Iran to disclose their ownership to potential users. He says it would help consumers make informed decisions on when — and with whom — they share their private information.