Helicopters sent to rescue people amid heavy flooding in Iowa

Weeks of rain have deluged Iowa, causing extreme flooding that prompted the state’s governor to send helicopters to evacuate residents of the small town of Rock Valley.

Severe storms slammed the 4,000-person city on Friday, June 21 resulting in flooding and a cascade of other dangerous situations, like a lack of running water and power outages.

Rock Valley “is without running water, wells are unusable because of infiltration,” the city wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. On Sunday morning, the city announced it was working on obtaining emergency supply water “but due to the flooding damage ETA is unknown at the time.”

In the meantime, residents can grab bottled water — one case of bottled water per person — at the Park View Event Center, the city announced.

“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,” Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo said, according to the Associated Press.

“We’ve had so much rain here,” he said. “We had 4 inches last night in an hour and a half time. Our ground just cannot take anymore.”

The mayor issued emergency evacuation instructions on Friday, writing in a release: “Due to rising floodwaters posing a significant risk, the following emergency evacuation instructions are being issued to ensure the safety of all residents in the affected areas. Please follow these instructions carefully.”

Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Saturday that she issued a Disaster Proclamation for Sioux County, which includes Rock Valley, and “directed all available state resources to assist Rock Valley and other communities in northwest Iowa in response to catastrophic flooding.”

Aerial footage from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office captured the devastation. Houses are mired in flood water, making the streets invisible.