DES MOINES, Iowa – Residents in the Des Moines area are cleaning up Monday after deadly floods destroyed homes and submerged cars, while officials work to tally up the full extent of the damage.
Heavy rains over the weekend forced the evacuation of numerous homes and businesses in Des Moines and surrounding suburbs. Sixty-six-year-old Drake University broadcaster Larry Cotlar was killed when he was swept away by floods on Saturday.
Areas near Fourmile Creek in Des Moines and Walnut Creek in Clive were especially hard hit. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said more than 230 homes were damaged near Fourmile Creek, along with about 10 commercial structures, a couple of hotels and six apartment buildings.
It's unclear how many other homes and businesses in the Des Moines area were damaged. Gov. Kim Reynolds said she plans to request federal disaster assistance once the damage from this and other recent floods is estimated.
Water rushed into ground-floor apartments in parts of Des Moines ruining belongings, including those of 58-year-old Ellen James, who said she lost everything and had to stay in a shelter.
Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly said the shelter housed 39 people Sunday night.
Kelsey Angle, a warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Des Moines office, said the forecast is dry until scattered storms on Thursday, which should limit additional flooding.
Water reached 880 feet above sea level Monday at the Saylorville Dam, with an expected crest at 888 feet this weekend. The dam's spillway can control the flow of surplus water up to 890 feet above sea level.
"We're in generally good shape so long as the forecast holds," Angle said. "It's important that people continue to monitor the forecast."