Melting snow over the weekend created ice jams along the Des Moines River near Fort Dodge, putting 21 counties under flood warnings and leading 15 families to evacuate their homes.
Flash-flood warnings were in place for much of Saturday and Sunday. Spotters reported water coming over roads as the river rose.
Gas and electricity were shut off to several houses northwest of Fort Dodge, said Lt. Kevin Kruse of the Webster County sheriff’s office.
Although flooding is a serious problem, he said, the annual swelling of the Des Moines River has not been unusual yet this year.
“The biggest concern is if the jam lets go all at once,” Kruse said. The jam will probably break up piece by piece, he said, but if the entire body let go at once there would be some flash flooding downstream in Fort Dodge.
Fifteen homes in the Breen Addition neighborhood were affected by Sunday’s jam along the Webster County Road D14 bridge, Kruse said. He said water was seeping into the homes’ ground floors.
In Eastern Iowa, flood risk has increased slightly along rivers.