COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds wrapped up her first tour of western Iowa at the Council Bluffs Airport Monday.
The City of Council Bluffs communications officer said in a news release that flood waters along the Missouri River have started to recede in Council Bluffs and the levee system is in good shape. “We don’t expect to have any problems with the levee,” Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Director Doug Reed said.
Reed said even though water is receding, there are still very dangerous conditions and roads that are impacted.
Officials want the public to refrain from driving on any road marked “closed due to flooding.” Even if water has receded, roads may be compromised due to flood water.
Officials started damage assessment in eastern Pottawattamie County on Monday.
“The damage assessment process focused on the east end where the water has been down to safe levels. Over the past couple of days we’ve been able to get in and check on more of our roads and infrastructure in small communities,” Reed said.
He added that in some areas it appears there was record flooding, surpassing flood levels in 1993.
The Pottawattamie County road system still has approximately 26 active road closures.
“Some folks are causing damage to vehicles and putting themselves at risk by going around barricades,” Reed said.
Pottawattamie County is one of 38 counties that is included in Reynolds’ Disaster Proclamation she issued last week, which means affected residents are eligible to receive grants from the state.
“We are up to 41 counties that have requested a Governor’s disaster relief proclamation,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said the damage she saw from the air and on the ground is heart-wrenching and even catastrophic.
She said businesses, homes, infrastructure, farms and even entire towns have been destroyed by flood water.
“We couldn’t make it to Pacific Junction because the town was entirely submerged,” Reynolds said.
She said this flood has had a significant impact on the agricultural industry in Iowa.
“We have bins that are full of grain and they’re not insured and there was no way to get them out because of the roads and conditions and how fast the water came up, but that’s something we are going to have to deal with. Not only the grain that they had stored, but how do we work to get them back in the field if we even can this year,” Reynolds said.
She said livestock were also heavily affected and several hog confinements are underwater.
As the water continues to recede, Reynolds said officials are going to hit the ground running to help those affected by flooding.
“There’s no two ways about it. We are going to need significant assistance from the corps, and we need it today. This can’t be something that is surrounded by bureaucracy and red tape. We have to figure out what we need to do to get this addressed,” Reynolds said.