HORNICK, Iowa -- Almost all residents left the small Woodbury County town of Hornick as of the early afternoon Thursday, following evacuations ordered after the breach of a levee on the West Fork of the Little Sioux River. 

Rebecca Socknat, Woodbury County Emergency Management Coordinator, said pretty much all willing residents had evacuated the town. 

"We do have reports that a few residents have chosen to stay," she said, though she was unsure whether they were still in town. 

The Mayor of Hornick, Scott Mitchell, ordered an mandatory evacuation of the town after the levee broke Thursday morning. Emergency workers and county sheriff's deputies were going door to door to urge residents to leave their homes ahead of advancing floodwaters. 

Emergency workers prepared an emergency shelter at the Westwood School in nearby Sloan, and residents were welcome to go there. 

Curt Crichton, the fire chief in Hornick, said significant floodwaters had not yet arrived in town by Thursday afternoon. It was not clear how long it would take for the floodwaters to trickle in. 

"We are trying to put a plan together as we speak to save the properties" of the community, Crichton said. "How deep is the water going to get? I don't know, sir." 

He also didn't know how long Hornick residents would be displaced: "My crystal ball is muddy." 

Heavy rains and snowmelt sent the West Fork of the Little Sioux River out of its bank, Socknat said. Many residents reported standing water in their basements.

Hornick, population 219, is about 25 miles southeast of Sioux City.

Brad Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, said the West Fork was at roughly 26.5 feet in depth at noon, just a hair below major flood stage. Minor flood stage for the West Fork starts at 20 feet. 

The West Fork is expected to crest at just below 27 feet sometime during the late afternoon or early evening hours Thursday. 

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article online contained an error in Rebecca Socknat's name. 

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