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Responders race to protect homes

Iowa town evacuated in face of possible levee failure

HAMBURG, Iowa (UPI) | June 7, 2011

The Army Corps of Engineers Monday tried to fortify a southwest Iowa town against the expected failure of a Missouri River levee downstream.

The corps told KCCI-TV, Des Moines, Iowa, that 22 half-ton sandbags dropped by helicopter have temporarily shored up a breached levee on the Missouri state line. Iowa homeland security spokesman John Benson said it seemed stabilized for the moment.

About half the town's 1,100 residents were told to evacuate Sunday and were expected to be out by Monday night.

Across the river in Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District declared a "notification of unusual event" -- the lowest level of emergency -- at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant Monday because of high water levels.

The plant, about 20 miles upstream from Omaha, has been shut down since early April for refueling. The utility said no release of radioactivity has happened or is expected.

In Columbia, Mo., the city was preparing possible inundation of its water treatment plant, the Missourian reported.

After a year's worth of rain within weeks and snowpack 140 percent above average in the upper Missouri River basin, the corps is releasing record volumes of water from six reservoirs in Montana and the Dakotas.

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