Heatwave Takes Hold of United States as Floodwaters Force Iowa Evacuations

Rock Valley, Iowa residents faced a night of terror as floodwaters forced them out of their homes, a consequence of relentless weeks of rainfall. Meanwhile, across the United States, many were desperate for relief from yet another wave of extreme heat.

In Rock Valley, with a population of 4,200, sirens wailed at 2 a.m. as the Rock River reached its limit, prompting hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes. Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo described the situation as dire, with the city’s wells rendered unusable, leaving the community without running water.

The governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, declared a state of disaster for 21 counties in the northern part of the state, including Sioux County where Rock Valley is located. Drone footage shared by the local sheriff revealed a landscape submerged in water, with no streets visible, only rooftops and treetops peeking above the floodwaters.

In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem declared an emergency as heavy rainfall battered the southeastern region of the state. The town of Canton, located 30 miles southeast of Sioux Falls, was hit with a staggering 18 inches of rain, leading to the closure of several highways, including a crucial section of Interstate 29 that later reopened.

While the Midwest grappled with the aftermath of severe flooding, millions of Americans continued to endure scorching temperatures and oppressive humidity. The National Weather Service issued heat warnings for approximately 15 million people and heat advisories for another 90 million individuals across the country.

Experts pointed out that last year had seen an unprecedented number of heat waves in the U.S. since 1936, leading to a significant rise in heat-related deaths. With temperatures soaring around 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas, cities like Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Detroit were bracing for intense heatwaves.

As the nation battled extreme weather conditions, Aiden Engelkes and his girlfriend in Iowa stood helpless as they evacuated their flooded apartment, seeking refuge at a friend’s place on the higher floors. Looking ahead, the National Weather Service warned of potential expanded flooding in northern Iowa, even as residents in southern Minnesota grappled with road closures and record river crests.