Flooding batters Iowa, forces evacuations
he worst flooding in 15 years has paralyzed large sections of eastern Iowa, with heavy rains and brutal storms leaving their marks from one end of the state to the other.
Days of preparation couldn't hold back the rain-swollen Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday.
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"We are working around the clock with all of the county emergency management operations," Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said late Thursday.
Culver added Muscatine County to an emergency disaster proclamation that he issued earlier. Fifty-five of the state's 99 counties are now under the designation.
Rising flood waters forced evacuations in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, displacing thousands of people. Watch flooding escalate within hours »
Mercy Medical Center, a hospital in Cedar Rapids, began evacuating its 176 patients.
"Our hope was to continue to operate and serve our patients as we always have," said Tim Charles, president and CEO of the hospital. "Unfortunately, this has become a disaster of unpredictable and potentially catastrophic