DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Looking for a new car? Some hip waders? Or how about a row of portable toilets?

Advertisers in this flood-affected city are blitzing the area with ads and commercials to let customers know they're still in business.

''Yes, we're open and dry ... and easy to get to,'' declared a Dewey Ford advertisement in The Des Moines Register classified section last week.

''Attention 3/8 If you need health care during the flood crisis, Des Moines General Hospital is operating normally,'' said another ad.

About 250,000 people in the area have been without running water since July 11 when flooding swamped and contaminated the city's water treatment plant.

Since then, ad space has been used to ask for patience, promote good will, sell sump pumps and hip waders - and even offer relief.

''Escape the floods and get away to Minnesota's cool north shore,'' said an ad by Village Inn Resort of Lutsen, Minn., offering a discount touted as the ''Iowa Flood Special 3/8''

Paul Garvin, general sales manager at KIOA radio in Des Moines, said sales staffs try to be careful about the content of ads.

''We try to make sure that it's a legitimate offer they're making,'' he said, especially if the retailer is an outsider attempting to exploit demand for special products.

We remind them ''we'd be a little ticked off if their product didn't work as advertised,'' Garvin added. ''We don't want people spending $200 or $300 on a water purification system if it won't do anything for them.''

Others said they were open - but business was not usual.

''If you have an urgent need to contact us, then do so,'' said a Blue-Cross Blue-Shield ad signed by chief executive Robert Ray. ''If your question can wait until conditions return to normal, we ask you do defer your call.''

Some advertising has immediate results.

Garvin said after his station ran commercials for portable potties, ''the guy called back at noon and said, 'Holy cow, I want to expand my schedule.' And we said, 'By the way, drop off a couple at our building.'''

Officials reported a few instances of price gouging in the portable toilet business.

''We're concerned with out-of-town people, even with transportation costs, making a quick hit and leaving the city,'' said Pamela Griebel, an assistant attorney general in the consumer protection division.

Other advertisers said they were open - but business was not as usual.

''If you have an urgent need to contact us, then do so,'' said a Blue-Cross Blue-Shield ad signed by chief executive Robert Ray. ''If your question can wait until conditions return to normal, we ask you do defer your call.''