Hundreds of homes have been flooded in several US Midwestern states after rivers breached at least a dozen levees following heavy rain and snow melt in the region, authorities said.
About 200 miles of levees were compromised — either breached or overtopped — in four states, the US Army Corps of Engineers said.
Even in places where the water level had peaked in those states — Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas — the current was fast and the water so high that damage continued to pile up.
The flooding was blamed for at least three deaths.
“The levees are busted and we aren’t even into the wet season when the rivers run high,” said Tom Bullock, the emergency management director for Holt County, Missouri.
He said many homes in a mostly rural area of Holt County were inundated with 6ft to 7ft of water from the swollen Missouri River. He noted that local farmers are only a month away from planting corn and soybeans.
“The water isn’t going to be gone, and the levees aren’t going to be fixed this year,” said Mr Bullock, whose own home is now on an island surrounded by floodwater.
One couple was rescued by helicopter after water from three breached levees swept across 40,000 acres, he said. Another nine breaches were confirmed in Nebraska and Iowa counties south of the Platte River, the Corps said.