Major disaster declared in Iowa as deadly flooding continues across Midwest

As rivers and streams continue to rage, water has started to break through some levees, forcing the evacuation of another Iowa town on Tuesday. According to the Monona County Sheriff’s Office, the town of Rodney was evacuated, and roads in the town have been closed to the public.

DES MOINES, Iowa President Joe Biden has approved Iowa’s request for a major disaster declaration as devastating and record flooding continues across the Midwest and parts of the Plains days after torrential rain caused rivers and streams to overflow their banks and sent water rushing into communities, leaving at least two people dead.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds made the announcement on Tuesday and said residents in impacted counties can now apply for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance program, which provides disaster-affected homeowners, renters and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery efforts.

Man swept away, killed by flooding in Iowa

Officials said a man, who was later identified as William Schulze, of Elburn, Illinois, was attempting to drive across a flooded road on Saturday in Clay County when his truck was swept away and disappeared downstream, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Emergency personnel searched the area and located the truck in a tree line and found that Schulze had died. Recovery efforts were paused at the time due to the dangerous conditions, but officials were eventually able to reach Schulze’s body on Tuesday.

The first death associated with the flooding was announced over the weekend by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.


Dam partially fails in Minnesota sending torrents of water downstream into communities

Residents living downstream of the Rapidan Dam near Mankato, Minnesota, were put on alert after the swollen Blue Earth River led to the partial failure of the Rapidan Dam.

The Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office said it was unknown if the dam would totally fail, but on Monday afternoon, water was seen rushing off to the side of the structure and eroding away the earth surrounding it. The National Weather Service issued Flash Flood Warnings to highlight the danger.


On Monday afternoon, it was announced that there were no plans for a mass evacuation, but numerous roads have been closed around the dam, and the sheriff’s office is asking curious visitors to stay behind safety barricades.

Another Iowa town evacuated due to levee breach

As rivers and streams continue to rage, water has started to break through some levees, forcing the evacuation of another Iowa town on Tuesday.

According to the Monona County Sheriff’s Office, the town of Rodney was evacuated, and roads in the town have been closed to the public.

At this time, no assistance is needed, but the sheriff’s office said people should stay out of the area.

The sheriff’s office said water has been breaching the levee in several areas, and residents along the Little Sioux River should be prepared to evacuate immediately if needed.

1 dead, railroad bridge collapses in South Dakota

South Dakota has been hard hit by the flooding with one death reported so far in the state.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation spent time on Sunday building a berm across both lanes of Interstate 29, which has been closed in an attempt to protect North Sioux City and the Dakota Dunes from the flooding.


"The protective structure will connect with an existing levee on the east side of North Sioux City," SDDOT said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

A detour has since been set up to help travelers get around the closure of I-29.


At a news conference on Sunday afternoon, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced the flooding death in her state, but she didn’t provide any additional details.

"All I’m going to say is that I want to remind everybody to remember the power of water and the flow of water and to stay away from flooded areas," she said at the news conference.

According to a report from SiouxlandProud, a rail bridge between North Sioux City and Riverside partially collapsed because of the flooding late Sunday night. 

The report says the bridge was located above the Big Sioux River between North Sioux City and the Riverside neighborhood of Sioux City, Iowa.


Levee break leads to Flash Flood Emergency in northern Iowa

The already-swollen rivers and the heavy rain caused a levee to break along the Rock River in Rock Valley, Iowa, early Saturday morning, which led to urgent evacuations and a Flash Flood Emergency.

City officials even sounded tornado sirens to get the town’s attention to the urgent and dangerous situation that was unfolding.

"We are setting off sirens in (Rock Valley)," the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office posted on social media. "This means to evacuate your house if able."

Rock Valley city officials have been posting regular updates on social media for residents and said at least two bridges and roads had been washed away.

"Using pickups, tractors, trucks or loaders is no longer an option for evacuation because of the water current and height," officials said Saturday. "Please know all boats and teams are doing all they can to get each and every one of your loved ones."

Iowa Gov. Kim Richards issued an emergency disaster proclamation for Sioux County, directing state resources to help Rock Valley and other flooded communities in Iowa.

Several water rescues have also been conducted in Iowa’s O’Brien County, and a train derailed in Lyon County near Alvord.

Nine train cars were knocked off the tracks about 4:30 a.m. local time Friday, but no hazardous materials were spilled or involved.

The Rock River crested at 27.64 feet – nearly 5 feet above its highest stage ever previously recorded.

Record flooding reported on numerous rivers

Flood Warnings remain in effect along several rivers in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota in the Midwest.

These warnings are in effect not only for the previous rain that fell and is rushing downstream, but also due to levee failures.

National Weather Service offices in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Omaha, Nebraska, both issued Flash Flood Warnings on Tuesday because of a levee failure.

The NWS said life-threatening flash flooding was occurring in several areas due to the levee failure, and residents were urged to seek higher ground.

Multiple river gauges have exceeded their all-time highest crest, and many others were expected to be added to the list.


River basins in Iowa and southeastern South Dakota were seeing the worst of it as they sit downstream of the heaviest rain, with the Big Sioux, Little Sioux, Ocheyedan, and Des Moines rivers among those forecast to exceed their record flood stage or have already done so.

Flooding along the Big Sioux River at Hawarden exceeded its record by 4 feet and caused mandatory evacuations in the town. City officials say power was turned off to parts of town that are underwater, and the water and sewer treatment plant shut down due to inundation. Officials initially told residents not to use the water, but in an update on Sunday afternoon, they said the water in Hawarden was safe to drink.

Other rivers over record flood stage included the Floyd River in Iowa and the Vermilion River in South Dakota.