If fixes fail, Iowa town could be left under water

By GRANT SCHULTE | June 7, 2011 | 3:12 AM EDT

A flood berm is being constructed around Hamburg, Iowa's water supply Monday, June 6, 2011 in Hamburg, Iowa. The Army Corps of Engineers began building a secondary flood wall to protect low-lying areas of Hamburg, because it expects the northernmost breach of the floodwall, which is 5 miles southwest of town, to fully give way at some point.(AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) — Flooding along the Missouri River is expected to break decades-old records this summer and test its system of levees, dams and flood walls like never before.

The swollen river is already threatening the small southwest Iowa town of Hamburg. Crews were scrambling Monday to pile massive sandbags on a faltering levee and build a secondary barrier.

The fire chief says that if those efforts fail, parts of Hamburg could be under as much as 8 feet of water for a month or more.

The levee that guards an area of farmland and small towns between Omaha, Neb., and Kansas City has been partially breached in at least two places. New breaches are expected as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases record amounts of water from dams by mid-June.