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Flooding forces people from their homes in parts of Iowa as much of the U.S. simmers in heat again – Hartford Courant

Flooding forces people from their homes in parts of Iowa as much of the U.S. simmers in heat again – Hartford Courant

Flooding forced people from their homes in parts of Iowa following weeks of rain, while much of the United States braced for another round of blistering heat on Saturday.

Sirens sounded at 2 a.m. 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 withstand the rain that hit the region. The city had no running water because the wells were unusable.

Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo said a state helicopter was on its way to help but was stopped when boats could reach stranded residents.

“We’ve had so much rain here,” he said. “Last night we had 4 inches in an hour and a half. Our land can’t take it anymore.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds declared a disaster for 21 northern Iowa counties, including Sioux County, which includes Rock Valley. In the drone video posted by the local sheriff, no streets were visible, only rooftops and treetops sticking out of the water.

Elsewhere in the US, the miserable grip of heat and humidity continued. The National Weather Service said about 15 million people were under a heat watch — the highest level of alert — while another 90 million were under a heat advisory. Millions of people across the country had their lives disrupted by unusually high temperatures.

Last year, the US experienced the most heat waves since 1936, experts said. An AP analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that excessive heat contributed to more than 2,300 deaths, the most in 45 years of records.

Temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) were predicted for Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia, while Philadelphia; Newark, New Jersey; Columbus, Ohio; and Detroit were preparing for the ’90s.

Heat-related hospital visits in New York state have recently been 500 percent higher than the average day in June, according to the Department of Health.

“We still have this extended heat wave in parts of the Ohio Valley and the Northeast,” said meteorologist Marc Chenard. “We have some relief by the start of the week, at least in the eastern U.S. Northeast, but overall, above-normal temperatures will blanket much of the country well into next week.”

In southeast Michigan, DTE Energy said 7,400 customers were without power Saturday afternoon due to storm-related outages, down from 75,000 earlier in the week.

A heat index of about 100 Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) didn’t stop Florida couple Judy and Bill Watson from watching the Tigers play the White Sox at Comerica Park in Detroit. Their afternoon visit was a milestone: Bill Watson has now seen games at all 30 MLB stations.

“We’re from Florida. You might be interviewing the wrong people about the heat,” the 71-year-old Bradenton man said with a smile. “I drank water, beer from time to time. We were happy it didn’t rain.”

Across the country in California, temperatures in the state’s Central Valley were expected to reach as high as 106 Fahrenheit (41.1 Celsius), and the NWS issued a heat warning until 8 p.m. Nearly 4,000 homes and businesses in Sacramento lost power for less than an hour. in the middle of the day, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Flooding was a problem in southeastern South Dakota and northwestern Iowa. Several freeways were closed, including a key stretch of Interstate 29 south of Sioux Falls, which later reopened. Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, received more than 7 inches (17.7 centimeters) of rain in three days.

In Iowa, power was shut off at wastewater treatment plants in Hawarden and Spencer, which together have 14,000 residents.

Aiden Engelkes said he and his girlfriend took clothes, cats and bottled water and left their flooded first-floor apartment in Spencer for a friend’s dry space on the fourth floor. Chevy’s SUV was under the churning water outside, except for part of the antenna. Across the street, he said, friends were on a roof waiting for help.

“It’s terrifying,” Engelkes, 20, said.

While rain chances were forecast for the middle of next week, the National Weather Service predicted widespread flooding in the area before then as high waters moved downstream on several northern Iowa rivers.

Flooding also closed state highways and county roads in southern Minnesota. Windom, a town of about 4,800, received 1.25 inches (3.2 centimeters) of rain on top of earlier heavy rains, and the Des Moines River there was at a record high.

“We’re having a tough time just keeping up, putting up barricades,” said City Councilwoman Jenny Quaid. “We put the barricades up and then all of a sudden the water rises so high and the barricade is back in the water.”

In New Mexico, warnings of heavy rain and flash flooding prompted officials to order some evacuations, with shelters set up for displaced residents.

The NWS has issued a flash flood emergency Friday night into early Saturday. Areas affected included the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico and communities near Albuquerque.

In Ruidoso, a mountain village in New Mexico, full-time residents will be allowed to return Monday after being forced out by wildfires, although daily life will not return to normal.

“You’re going to have to bring food for a week, you’re going to have to bring drinking water,” Mayor Lynn Crawford said on Facebook.

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Hanna reported from Topeka, Kansas. AP reporters Julie Walker in New York City and Ken Miller in Oklahoma City contributed.