Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation Saturday for four counties in response to flooding and a train derailment in Lyon County.

The proclamation is designed to expecite the delivery of goods, services and personnel to Lyon, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties.

That move came as Reynolds prepared to tour the state's flood-ravaged counties as the cleanup moves forward at the site of the train derailment and oil spill along the swollen waters of the Rock River.

Most people have been allowed back into their homes in the northwest Iowa community after they were evacuated because of the flooding.

Rock Valley public information officer Travis Olson says 12 blocks of the city - between 50 and 70 homes - were evacuated Thursday as the Rock River defied its banks.

Olson said that by Friday afternoon, the waters had begun to recede and most residents were allowed to return. The exception, he said, was one mobile home park still under water. Olson says some roads also were reopened Friday afternoon.

Churches were opened as emergency shelters to those evacuated, and about 400 volunteers and emergency workers worked through the night filling sandbags and creating berms.

The National Weather Service says the river rose rapidly Wednesday with the 5 to 7 inches of rain that fell along the Interstate 90 corridor in South Dakota.

Train Derailment
As for that derailment near Doon, Iowa, the cleanup continues Saturday.

Lyon County Sheriff Steward Vander Stoep said between 30 and 40 semitrailers containing cleanup equipment had arrived at the scene by Friday afternoon.

BNSF spokesman Andy Williams says 33 oil tanker cars hauling crude oil from Alberta, Canada, derailed around 4:30 a.m. Friday just south of Doon. Williams says some of the tankers were compromised, causing the oil to leak into floodwaters and eventually into the rain-swollen Little Rock River, but officials don't yet have an exact number of tankers that leaked oil.

Williams says cleanup crews are working to contain the oil as close to the derailment as possible using containment booms, skimmers and vacuum trucks.

Downriver, Omaha's Metropolitan Utilities District continues to monitor developments in the spill 153 miles to the north. MUD issued a statement noting, "We will continue to monitor and if necessary will shift water pumping away from Florence Plant to our two other treatment plants, that are supplied by Platte River."

Emergency Officials Meet
Governor Reynolds was briefed on the status of the flooding during a special meeting of the state's response agencies late Friday afternoon. She has already issued disaster proclamations for 18 counties. The briefing Friday included developments in that derailment and oil spill.

During her tour of affected flood zones on Saturday the governor will be joined by Joyce Flinn, the acting director of Iowa's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Here's the schedule:

  • 1:15 p.m.: Sioux County, Rock Valley
  • 2:15 p.m.: Train derailment and crude oil spill site in Lyon County, Doon, Iowa
  • 4 p.m.: O'Brien County, Hartley City Hall

The governor plans a media briefing in Hartley after the tour to update flood conditions and the state's response.