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Iowa Faces Flood, Tornado Damage

May 18, 1999

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) _ As western Iowa recovered from tornadoes, northeastern Iowans fled their homes Monday as creeks topped their banks and a dam was being eaten away on the Maquoketa River.

Tornadoes skipped across western Iowa on Sunday, killing two people, and were followed by flooding in eastern Iowa as thunderstorms rolled across northern Iowa Sunday afternoon.

Another storm hit Sunday night and continued to drench the area Monday.

In Dunkerton, people were evacuating with little more than clothes stuffed in plastic bags to escape the overflowing Crane Creek.

``The post office, city hall and police department, a church and all the businesses are in 3 to 4 feet of water,″ Sheriff’s Sgt. John Keefe said.

About 200 people were evacuated from Manchester after rising water began to eat away the earthen sides of the Quaker Mills dam on the Maquoketa River.

The Turkey River in eastern Iowa received up to 7 inches of rain Sunday, and the city of Elkport _ located at the confluence of the Turkey and Volga rivers _ had its water supply contaminated by the flooding.

The state was sending bottled water to the area, said Gov. Tom Vilsack, who declared five eastern counties as disaster areas.

Dunkerton resident Katie Mostek waded through water Monday morning to help save books at the city’s library, where flood waters began soaking the floor.

As Mostek walked through downtown, she saw a man wading in the water pulling a boat with children inside behind him.

``There were people all over trying to get out of the water,″ she said.

Dubuque received the most rain for the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Monday, with 2.5 inches.

Residents in western Iowa were clearing up from the debris caused by Sunday’s tornadoes. Nine counties reported damage from the storms.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army had response teams in hard-hit Logan early Monday to provide relief and support for the victims. A busload of high-school students also planned to join the cleanup.

Two people who fled a graduation party near Logan were killed in the tornadoes. They were Julie Pali, 15, of Bellevue, Neb., and Kathline Fugate, 38, of Logan.

Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms moved through Michigan with heavy rain, hail and winds of up to 70 mph. Some d 90,000 customers were without power in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Jackson and Lansing at the height of the storm.