DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) —Flooding in Des Moines was fueled by 3 to 8 inches of rain that fell across the area Saturday night.

Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek says, "The speed and how long that rain fell caught us by surprise."

In the suburb of Urbandale, residents of a duplex escaped shortly before an explosion from a ruptured gas line leveled their home after the basement flooded.

Shane Rhoades told The Des Moines Register that it "flushed" him and his wife to the point where they thought they "were gone." He said they "managed to get to the ceiling and get air."

They found a window and swam out, and got their three children out.

The National Weather Service predicts Thursday will be the next chance for rain. But rivers and reservoirs are full and may continue rising.


A longtime Iowa sportscaster died in the flash flooding in Des Moines.

Police say 66-year-old Larry Cotlar died Saturday when he was swept away in floodwater after his van stalled on a flooded north Des Moines street. Cotlar had worked as the voice of Drake University's teams since 2005.

Drake athletics director Brian Hardin says he respected Cotlar's work and the "quality person and colleague he was."

Witnesses told police Cotlar was swept away as he got out of his stalled van. His body was found nearly four hours later, several blocks away.