NORTHWEST MILLS COUNTY, Iowa — Carp jump in the floodwaters just south of the St. Marys drainage ditch. The brown stalks of the ruined corn crop show that water was here before, but nothing like this.
About 30 feet of the south bank gave way, sending water from the swollen ditch into the farm fields to the south, threatening at least five households in the area.
The breach, which occurred Tuesday afternoon, can be blamed on saturation from ongoing flooding and recent heavy rains, Mills County emergency managers say.
As a result, 182nd Street and Gaston Avenue have been closed to through traffic because of fast-moving water over the roads. The five households in the area have been contacted and told to prepare to evacuate.
Larry Hurst, emergency coordinator for the county, said the breach is not a part of the main Missouri River levee system.
Hurst said that levee district workers and the National Guard continue to patrol the main levee to ensure its integrity.
Mills County officials are exploring their options for fixing the berm, but they were able to access the breach only by all-terrain vehicle or boat, said Sheri Bowen, a county spokeswoman.
The breach occurred south of Allis Road and west of 182nd Street, an area just west of Interstate 29 and about 6½ miles northwest of Glenwood.
The break paradoxically was good news for those who live on the north side of the ditch, where much of the land was already flooded. The breach lowered the water level in the ditch, allowing some floodwaters to retreat back into it.
The rushing waters from the breach surrounded the home of Tim Main one of those who might have to evacuate.
Main and two of his three daughters were getting to and from their home on 182nd Street in his 1994 four-door Chevrolet Silverado pickup, pushing through the floodwaters.
He said Wednesday they would leave only if they absolutely had to, but they hadn't reached that point.
“We don't have to mow the lawn no more, so we're good,” he said.
Dean Dingman, 46, of Omaha is a member of the Cobras R/C Club, which flies remote-control airplanes at a field just south of Main's home.
Dingman was unwilling to drive through the water rushing over 182nd Street to get to the field, which Main told him was underwater.
It was bad news. The organization was planning on hosting “Western Front Dawn Patrol,” a gathering of World War I-style remote-control aircraft and their operators in September.
“That pretty much torpedoes us,” he said.
Going down in flames is a less apt metaphor when nearly surrounded by water.
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