Days of heavy rain cause major flooding across the US Midwest


Days of heavy rain have caused major flooding in parts of the US Midwest over the weekend, leaving at least two people dead. The governors of Iowa and Wisconsin have declared a state of emergency.

NWS said that the 7 day period to September 23 saw rainfall levels in parts of the Midwest between 5 to 7.5 times higher than normal for this period.

More than 254 mm (10 inches) of rain fell last week causing flooding and mudslides across the region of western Wisconsin. The city of Waseca, for example, recorded 232.4 mm (9.15 inches) of rain in 24 hours to Thursday, September 22, 2016.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency for 13 western Wisconsin counties: Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Eau Claire, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, Trempealeau, and Vernon.

At least 2 flood and rain related deaths have been reported in the state. One person died when a mudslide in Wheatland destroyed a house. The second victim died in his vehicle after attempting to drive through flood waters in Viroqua.

In Iowa, several thousand residents of Cedar Rapids left their homes Sunday, September 25 as floodwaters began to spill out of the rising Cedar River. The river crested Saturday night in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, which are about 90 km (55 miles) upstream from Cedar Rapids, Iowa's second-largest city, with about 130 000 people.

The water levels in Cedar Falls and Waterloo were slightly lower than had been expected, but they still reached levels that were second only to those in 2008, when a major flood devastated the region, the AP reported.

The NWS predicted that the river will crest at 7 m (23 feet) in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday morning (local time) – well below the 2008 record of 9.5 meters (31.12 feet). Officials asked those living in about 5 000 downtown homes near the river to evacuate. They said it could be days before people can return home.

Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for 13 counties: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Chickasaw, Delaware, Floyd, Franklin, Linn, and Wright.

In Minnesota, flooding was particularly heavy in the town of St. Clair where the rising of Le Sueur River flooded out a number of homes including the post office. Residents told Fox 9 it was much worse than the flood in the spring of 2010. The river level began dropping on Sunday.

Video courtesy Weather Nation (via Stormwall)

Video courtesy Storm Chasing Videos (via Stormwall)

Video courtesy IowaStrmChsr

Meanwhile, heavy rain is forecast in parts of Texas through Monday, September 26, further heightening the risk of flooding. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for portions of southwest Texas.

Flooding was already reported throughout the region over the weekend. All roads coming in and out of Rocksprings, Texas were closed on Sunday afternoon due to flood waters making them impassable, the police said. Another road closure due to runoff from heavy rain was reported in Leakey, Texas. 

There can be more incidents of flooding with each passing downpour, AccuWeather warned.

Featured image: Flooding in Greene, Iowa – September 2016. Credit: IowaStrmChsr

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