Flash flooding caused $680,000 in damage last month in Cedar County, Iowa, according to a rapid assessment estimate compiled by Tim Malott, the county's emergency management director.

Damage was heaviest in Lowden, where 6.6 inches of rain fell in about six hours early June 24, overwhelming three creeks, said Steve Gottschalk, a National Weather Service observer and resident who was rescued by boat from his home.

"It was a freak thing," said Liz Norton, the owner of the town's Lincoln Hotel. "There was this huge cloud that just stood over Lowden."

Lowden, population 786, is on U.S. 30, about 25 miles west of DeWitt.

The fast-flowing water inundated low-lying areas, severely damaging four houses, including Gottschalk's, temporarily closing a grain elevator and a truck stop and washing out the approach to a bridge on the Hoover Highway, or County Road Y-14, that remains closed, Malott said.

A meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the American Legion Hall in Lowden for residents whose property was damaged, he said.

The purpose of the meeting is to bring residents up to date on what's been done, what remains to be done and what kinds of financial assistance might be available, including reimbursement for any appliances lost and the possible buyout of homes in the floodplain.

"I'm encouraging everybody to keep all receipts," Malott said.

His assessment is that four homes in Lowden sustained "catastrophic" damage, meaning the cost of cleanup and fix-up would come to at least 50 percent of their value.

In addition, many residents had flooding in their basements and lost appliances such as washers, dryers, furnaces and water heaters.

In some cases, the appliances were new, having been replaced after flooding in April, Gottschalk said.

The city is providing special pickup of water-soaked goods as well as appliances, and the county continues to restore roads.

"A lot of gravel is being put down," Malott said.

Although Lowden was hit hardest, the Cedar County communities of Bennett, Clarence, Stanwood and Tipton also had flooding, he said.