Rising water from the Cedar River forced the evacuation of a hospital in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- 236-bed Mercy Medical Center -- on June 13 after residents of more than 3,000 homes fled for higher ground. A railroad bridge collapsed, and 400 city blocks were under water.
Cedar Rapids was the hardest-hit city in Iowa, where Gov. Chet Culver declared 83 of the state's 99 counties as state disaster areas and nine rivers were at or above historic flood levels. Elsewhere in the upper Midwest, rivers and streams tipping their banks forced evacuations, closed roads, and even threatened drinking water.
The hospital's 176 patients, including about 30 patients in a nursing facility at the hospital, were being evacuated to other hospitals in the region. The evacuation started late June 12 and into the next morning in the city of 124,000 residents.
''Some are frail and so it's a very delicate process with them,'' said Karen Vander Sanden, a hospital spokeswoman.
Water was seeping into the hospital's lower levels, where the emergency generator is located, said Dustin Hinrichs of the Linn County emergency operations center.
''They proactively and preventatively started evacuation basically guessing on the fact they were going to lose power,'' he said.
Dave Koch, a spokesman for the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, said the river was expected to crest June 13 at about 31.8 feet. It was at 30.9 feet early in the morning. In a 1993 flood, considered the worst flood in recent history, it was at 19.27 feet.
At least 438 city blocks in downtown were under water, Koch said. There was more flooding outside of downtown, but authorities don't know what widespread it is.
Flooding also closed Interstate 80 from east of Iowa City to Davenport. The flooded Cedar River crosses the interstate in Cedar County, about 20 miles east of Iowa City.
No deaths or serious injuries were reported in Iowa, but one man was killed in southern Minnesota after his car plunged from a washed-out road into floodwaters. Another person was rescued from a nearby vehicle in the town of Albert Lea.
Just southeast of Grand Rapids, Mich., crews pulled the body of a motorist from a car found drifting in the swollen Thornapple River. State police said they believe the 57-year-old man called on his cell phone but didn't say what happened or where he was; they found him using global positioning equipment.
Violent thunderstorms both days brought widespread flooding to Michigan's Lower Peninsula that authorities say left some roads and bridges unstable or impassable. Utilities said about 28,000 new power outages were reported, in addition to about 36,000 customers who lost power in earlier storms.
In Wisconsin, amphibious vehicles that carry tourists on the Wisconsin River were used to evacuate homes and businesses in Baraboo, north of Madison. Hundreds of people lost power in Avoca, west of Madison, and were ''strongly encouraged'' to evacuate because of flooding of the Wisconsin River and other streams, said Chief Deputy Jon Pepper of the Iowa County Sheriff's Department.
The rising Fond du Lac River forced hundreds from homes in Fond du Lac.