WASHINGTON - One meteorologist has called it an historical event, but it's a piece of history Iowans would rather forget.
Nine rivers across their state have reached record flood levels due to days of heavy rains. And matters won't get easier for Iowa and other states in the upper Midwest in the days ahead.
A City Underwater
Fifty-five of Iowa's 99 counties have already been declared disaster areas. But the city of Cedar Rapids has been hit the hardest.
Days of pounding rains caused the Cedar River to overflow its banks, leaving at least 100 city blocks under water.
Over 3,000 homes have been evacuated and at least 8,000 residents displaced by the flooding, which caused this railroad bridge to collapse.
"I slept outside last night. But I don't know where to go, man. I don't know where to go," Cedar Rapids resident Bassem Herz said.
Iowa's Gov. Charles Culver said, "I've never seen anything like it. And it's kind of heartbreaking, really, to see the destruction, to see families that have been impacted, the pain and suffering that comes along with it, the emotional impact that it has to be uprooted and to lose possessions and to lose homes."
So far, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported in the Hawkeye State. But flood damage covers much of eastern Iowa.
Residents Called to Evacuate
Officials in Des Moines are worried the Des Moines River will topple a nearby levee. They've urged residents to evacuate more than 200 homes north of downtown.
This Des Moines woman watched helplessly as the waters consumed her basement.
"It's moving really fast. 20 minutes it ago, it was 2 feet lower than that," exclaimed one woman as she watched the rising waters flood her home.
"We have more than 100 state roads that are closed, we have hundreds of county roads that are closed, dozens of bridges that are either completely destroyed, or certainly closed," Culver said.
The forecast looks bleak for the Upper Midwest over the next few days. Forecasters are predicting heavy rainfall and serious flooding along the Mississippi River, from Iowa into Missouri, Illinois and the Great Lakes region.
The conditions already have some residents calling this the heartland's Katrina.