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Historic flood hits Des Moines after more than a foot of rain overnight, Iowa

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Historic flooding hit Des Moines, Iowa over the weekend following a series of thunderstorms that started affecting the city on Saturday evening, June 30, 2018. More than a 305 mm (1 foot) of rain fell on some parts of the city by Sunday morning. One person was killed.

Des Moines metro area received between 76 and 203 mm (3 to 8 inches) of rain with some areas receiving well over 305 mm (12 inches), according to local media reports. Heavy rain was accompanied by winds in excess of 96 km/h (60 mph).

According to KCCI Des Moines, Ankeny received the brunt of the storm’s force and saw around 254 mm (10 inches) of rainfall in a short time frame, according to NWS. At one point during the storm, rain fell at a rate of more than 102 mm (4 inches) per hour.

NWS meteorologist Kelsey Angle said Sunday morning that the recent flash flooding was 'obviously a historic event, in terms of sheer rainfall' and that 'the magnitude that was described surpassed many of our expectations.'

City emergency response officials said the responded to about 35 to 40 public assists, many of which were water rescued due to vehicles stalled in standing water.

Nearly 20 000 customers lost power Saturday night, but that number was reduced to about 40 by Sunday evening.

One person, a 66-year-old local sportscaster, died when he was swept away in floodwater after his van flooded on a north Des Moines street, police said. Witnesses told police that he was swept away as he got out of his stalled van. His body was found nearly four hours later, several blocks away. Two other people were inside the vehicle but they managed to get out safely.

The rain threat is over now and waters are starting to recede but weather officials said they expect continued flooding along Walnut and Fourmile creeks, as well as Raccoon River.

Featured image: Flooding in Des Moines, Iowa on July 1, 2018. Credit: Matt Claassen

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