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Helicopters Go to Pluck People Off Roofs in Flooded Iowa Town

Sirens at 2am alert residents to evacuate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2024 1:40 PM CDT
Helicopters Go to Pluck People Off Roofs in Flooded Iowa Town
This image provided by the Sioux County sheriff shows Rock Valley, Iowa, on Saturday.   (Sioux County Sheriff via AP)

The governor of Iowa sent helicopters to a small town to evacuate people from flooded homes Saturday, the result of weeks of rain. Sirens blared at 2am in Rock Valley, Iowa, population 4,200, where people in hundreds of homes were told to get out as the Rock River could no longer take rain that has slammed the region. The city lacked running water because wells were unusable, the AP reports. "We've got National Guard helicopters coming in where people are on their roofs—literally on their roofs or the second floor because their first floor is completely flooded," Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo said.

"We've had so much rain here," Otterloo said. "We had four inches last night in an hour and a half time. Our ground just cannot take anymore." Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster for Sioux County, which includes Rock Valley. Drone video posted by the sheriff showed no streets, just roofs and the tops of trees above water. Elsewhere in Iowa, power was cut off at wastewater treatment plants in Hawarden and Spencer, which together have 14,000 residents. Aiden Engelkes said he and his girlfriend grabbed clothes, cats, and bottled water and left their flooded first-floor apartment in Spencer for a friend's dry space on the fourth floor. "It's terrifying," Engelkes, 20, said, adding that friends across the street were on a roof waiting for help.

(More Iowa stories.)

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