Wednesday News, June 18
Several Homes Destroied In Tornado
PILGER, Neb. (AP) - Officials say the tornado that swept through Pilger destroyed between 45 and 50 homes. Officials say 10 to 12 homes were also demolished in Dixon County in northeast Nebraska. The National Weather Service says four tornadoes touched down during the massive storm, killing a 5-year-old girl in Pilger and a 74-year-old man who was driving in Cuming County.
Volunteers Not Yet Requested
PILGER, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska state officials say volunteers for tornado cleanup around Pilger aren't being requested right now. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency says officials will notify the public once volunteers are needed. A spokeswoman for Gov. Dave Heineman says local officials are trying to focus now on ensuring that the area is safe before the full cleanup begins. State and local officials were on site Tuesday after the tornado destroyed most of the northeast Nebraska town.
Mother Of Girl Killed Still In A Coma
PILGER, Neb. (AP) - The brother of a girl killed in a northeast Nebraska tornado says his mother is in a medically induced coma in Omaha. Cody Murphree released a statement Tuesday saying his mother, 42-year-old Kandi Murphree, was being treated after the tornado destroyed their home in Pilger. His sister, 5-year-old Calista Dixon, was one of two people killed in the storm.
Travel Ban In Effect For Lyon County
ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say flooding from the Rock River in northwest Iowa has caused evacuations and a travel ban in some areas.
The Lyon County Sheriff's Office says emergency personnel began evacuating residents in Rock Rapids Monday night. They continued evacuations Tuesday morning.
Authorities say a travel ban is in place for Lyon County because some roads and bridges have been washed out. There are no reports of injuries.
The National Weather Service says the river is expected to crest at more than 27 feet, and was expected to fall below flood stage by Thursday. A flood warning will continue until Friday afternoon.
Officials say up to 10 inches of rain has fallen in the area since Saturday.
Heavy Rains Affect Drinking Water
Rock Rapids--State officials say heavy rains in northern Iowa have overwhelmed many drinking water and wastewater systems. Drinking water has been trucked in for residents of Rock Rapids. Customers of the Lyon and Sioux Rural Water System in northwest Iowa have been advised to boil their water. Bryon Whiting, an environmental specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says it's because the drinking water plant in Rock Rapids was inundated with water and has been shut down -- and the rural water system in the area gets some of its water from Rock Rapids.
Some areas of far northwest Iowa got heavy rain this weekend and another three to five inches of rain on Monday night.
According to Whiting, rural Iowans who get their drinking water from a private well need to ensure surface water isn't running into the well.
The water plant in the town of Wahpeton (WAH-puh-tuhn), in Dickinson County, lost power, but the city is buying water from nearby Milford to meet demand and maintain pressure in the system. In Sioux City, sandbags have been placed around two of the wells in the town of Hawarden. A few customers of the Iowa Lakes Regional Water system in Clay County have been without water and officials say those customers should boil the water after service is restored. At least 34 Iowa cities have discharged waterwater because those cities' sewer systems and water treatement plants were overwhelmed by the intense rainfall. Nineteen livestock operations in Ida and Lyon Counties notified state officials because their manure storage basins overflowed due to the heavy rains. Late Tuesday afternoon Governor Branstad declared "disaster emergencies" in five counties -- Cedar, Lyon, Plymouth, Pocahontas and Sioux. It means state resources may be used in those areas to deal with the effects of the storms. More than a quarter of a million sandbags were dispatched to northwest Iowa and state-owned pumps were sent to Rock Rapids and George to try to reduce the water threat around critical infrastructure. The governor and the director of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department plan to personally survey damage in Rock Rapids and Rock Valley later today.
Record Flooding Recorded In Northwest Iowa
Rock Rapids-- Residents of far northwest Iowa are dealing with record flooding after receiving up to 10 inches of rain since Saturday. In Rock Valley, city administrator Tom Van Maanen says many homes, schools, and businesses are damaged.
The Rock River in Rock Valley is expected to crest at 22 feet. The previous record in 1993 was 20 feet.
The town is nearly surrounded by water. The only way in or out of Rock Valley is to the south. City officials have requested help with sandbagging efforts.
There's also record flooding in the Lyon County town of Rock Rapids, where about 700 people have been evacuated from their home. The Rock Rapids Water Supply treatment plant was inundated with water today and a boil order was issued. The Rock River in Rock Rapids is expected to crest at 27.4 feet, more than 5 feet higher than the previous record. A travel ban is in place for Lyon County because so many roads and bridges have been washed out by the flooding.
5 Counties Named Disater Areas
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued disaster proclamations for five Iowa counties following strong storms.
Branstad issued the proclamations Tuesday for Cedar, Lyon, Plymouth, Pocahontas and Sioux counties.
The action lets state resources be used to prepare for, respond to and recover from storms and flooding on public land or private land that might threaten public health and safety.
State resources already have been deployed, including pumps in Lyon County and thousands of sandbags in Plymouth, Pocahontas and Sioux counties. Branstad and Mark Schouten, the director of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, will survey damage in Lyon and Sioux counties Wednesday.
Sales Increase Reported For BPI
Sioux City--Sales of the product called "finely textured beef" are rebounding as meat prices rise and consumers seek cheaper alternatives. Production dropped two years ago when the term "pink slime" flooded the airwaves and the Internet, so Cargill and B-P-I shut down plants where they produced the product. Mike Martin, a Cargill spokesman, says had sales dropped off by 80-percent but they're coming back.
Cargill does not plan to reopen the plants that shut down. Some stores quit carrying the beef product while others added labels. Cargill and B-P-I say with beef prices rising, more retailers and restaurants are returning to buy the product made from beef trimmings and treated to reduce bacteria. Erik Connolly, spokesman for B-P-I, recalls what happened in March of 2012 during what he calls the "disinformation campaign," which is subject of a lawsuit.
B-P-I is suing A-B-C News for defamation. B-P-I closed three factories in 2012 that made the product, in Kansas, Texas and in Waterloo, Iowa, eliminating some 700 jobs. Only one plant remains open in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
Council Bluffs Man Charged In Explosion
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A Council Bluffs man has been charged in connection with a gunpowder explosion at a Boy Scouts meeting in March.
The Council Bluffs Nonpareil reports 50-year-old Erik Moore faces a charge of possession of an incendiary or explosive device. A message left for an attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Authorities say scouts and their fathers met at Moore's home in late March and an experiment involving gunpowder created an explosion. Six people were injured. Two boys were hospitalized with burns.
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