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Big Sioux River crests below previous record

A farm house was surrounded by flood water Thursday in Hawarden, Iowa.

Dirk Lammers/AP

A farm house was surrounded by flood water Thursday in Hawarden, Iowa.

NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (AP) — A swollen river that threatened homes where Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota meet crested earlier and at a lower level than expected around midnight Friday, the National Weather Service said.

The agency had predicted that the Big Sioux River would hit a record high around midday. But the service said Friday morning that the river crested at Sioux City, Iowa, around midnight a couple of feet below the previous record.

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The reason for the change wasn’t immediately clear.

Meteorologist Todd Heitkamp with the weather service in Sioux Falls said the river level should hold steady and eventually recede.

Days of thunderstorms upstream swelled the 420-mile-long river and threatened homes and businesses in three surrounding states, including up to 400 in the McCook Lake neighborhood of North Sioux City, South Dakota.

Crews built a temporary levee across Interstate 29, which should protect much of the city but closed off the interstate and forced motorists onto detours.

Floodwaters blocked most of the roads connecting South Dakota and Iowa between Sioux Falls and Sioux City.

___

Pitt reported from Des Moines, Iowa.

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