Council Bluff preps for evacuations, though many residents are still clueless


June 24th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Some Iowans are dangerously oblivious to the threat of severe flooding, even in areas where the rushing water is already lapping at levee tops. Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byers (BUY-ers) is busy spreading the word that the city’s residents should prepare to evacuate but he says a survey has found that many people haven’t a clue.  “What we found was a significant number of the population actually wasn’t even aware of the risk level or even the flood event,” Chief Byers says. “We were amazed but over 50% of the people who were interviewed did not recognize the risks that the city is under from the flood event or didn’t even know there was a flood event.” Byers says there is no immediate evacuation order but he’s asking residents to prepare in the same way as other weather-related disasters, like with a Blizzard Warning.

“Although the evacuation of the community is not necessary at this time, just as when we are anticipating a winter storm, we should plan ahead for that possibility,” he says. As a precaution, Byers says Council Bluffs residents should arrange for a place to store their belongings, their pets and, possibly, another place to live.  “While no evacuation order is being issued at this time, the city has upgraded the flood status of Council Bluffs to an Alert Level One and recommends you continue to make preparations to leave the area if the need arises,” Byers says. “You will be notified in the event the situation escalates.”

The Alert Level One was issued as Missouri River water crossed the 34-foot level threshold. Twenty-nine feet is flood stage.

(Matt Kelley/Radio Iowa)