Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Great flood of 2019

Many of you know that I was personally impacted by the spring flooding of the Mississippi river in my rural farming community of Portage Des Sioux in St. Charles County Missouri where both the big rivers the Mississippi and the Missouri were near record flood levels.

Here's a picture taken during the worse of the flooding and if you look close up in the far left corner I've marked my house.

When we left on May 29th the day after Memorial Day they were still only predicting that our town would become and island with no access in or out except by boat being surrounded by water. With my husband's precarious health issues I decided we couldn't stay so we packed up and decided to head for drier land alternating staying with our daughter and son-in-law and our niece and nephew (thank God for their kindness). But right before we left a neighbor told me the predictions had just gotten higher so if there was anything I wanted to save I'd better haul it up from the basement. Well there's only so much a 65 year old with a bum knee can haul up but I spent the better part of the day before we left doing just that.
Here are some pictures my neighbor sent me keeping me appraised of the situation
You can see the water line in the first pic is right under the basement window.

Then on June 5th the water got to us and seeped into the basement and it sat there for over three weeks. Without being able to get access into town a neighbor graciously looked in on things throwing bleach pool tablets and gallons of bleach in the flooded basement to tamp down on the mold growth and the smell.
We were luckier than a lot of people we only had seepage meaning it was ground water that came up through the basement floor not flood waters in through the windows and doors. But with almost 4 feet of water in the basement there was still a lot of damage and forty years worth of memories gone in a flash.

On June 21st the water had gone down enough for my nephew to get us into town in his truck here are the pictures I took driving into to town.
We probably drove through 9-11" of water

And we for the first time saw the damage for ourselves. It's hard to describe what I felt when I first saw it but I know it made my heart hurt. 
Then you can't just waltz in and remove the water, for one the water table was still so high that it would have simply come back in and two if the water had stayed out the hydrostatic pressure may have made the walls collapse without even pressure inside and outside the basement and that would have been even more devastating.
here are some pics with the water still in the basement

And here's after we drained the water a week or so later

Now the real work began
Our family came together to help us remove the debris, we did this all on one Sunday

Then my nephew and I armed with bleach, buckets, scrub brushes and mold killer cleaned and disinfected the basement. He even built me new basement steps.

Then I just started bleeding money, new washer, dryer, furnace, hot water heater and all the millions of items you never think of like ironing boards and irons. And since the water sat so long we had to replace the carpet upstairs fearing the moisture had leached into the padding through the sub-floor and with Bill's lung issues that was a must fix even if the insurance didn't cover it.

Even a new sink for the basement where I do my hand washing and where Princess Pippa gets her baths (she got one yesterday and is Not happy with the new set up).

So things are starting to get back to normal during the active flooding about 30 out of over 300 residents stayed in town, now I would say about half of the residents are back home, some are staying on their property in RVs etc and some still have a long way to go to return and unfortunately some won't be back at all.
My friends who own the apartments in town even took it upon themselves to raise the building so they won't have to put their tenants out if this happens again.
Some work(s) in progress

The way the town pulled together to help each other, the residents who stayed during the flood helping those of us who couldn't, reaching out a hand to offer help even offering the use of their  stoves and ovens, washers and dryers, community cook-outs etc.. And the town's officers especially our Mayor Mark Warner has my lasting support and gratitude for the above and beyond priceless help he offered to every town citizen. 

And I want to thank all the various agencies who came to our aid during the flood, The Salvation Army, The Red Cross, Catholic Charities, The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and FEMA. We received cleaning supplies, water, food and all kinds of donations that really helped, it made me feel good knowing that all those donations I made in the past to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army really do go to help locals during a disaster and as soon as we get back on our feet each of those organizations will be getting a donation. 

It also surprised me how resilient Bill and I were during this time we of course didn't have any choice but we just soldiered on putting one foot in front of the other, of course we're almost to the point of nervous breakdowns now.
We even managed a day out swimming with our daughter to remind us to take a day of R&R once in a while.

After a lot of hard work and $$$ things are finally almost back to normal and I will never again take advantage of being able to sleep in my own bed and watch my own weeds grow in the garden because be it ever so humble 
There's No Place Like Home!


  1. So thankful you are home and they were loved ones who were there who were able and willing to help you put things to rights. Take care of yourselves.

  2. I'm glad to hear you guys had so much help and were able to get back home. I know that couldn't have been easy.

  3. I'm so glad you had family to help you, I can't even imagine! Crazy flooding. So glad that you are all safe and sound and able to be back home again.

  4. I'm so happy that you are back home. All that you have been through sounds just awful, but I am glad you were able to get help and everything back to normal for you and tour husband.

  5. Wow, Debbie! That was a tough several weeks and you guys were so strong. Neat about family helping and the non-profits being johnny on the spot. I can't imagine what you went through, but yeah, I'm sure it is the most splendid thing to be back in your home.

    Thanks for sharing your flood story.

    1. it was something I never want to go through again. Thanks Sophia Rose

  6. Wow Debbie! Your story brought tears to my eyes. You've been through so much lately, and that amount of flooding is scary. You have a wonderful family, and support system. I'm glad you and your husband are safe. How are you guys doing health wise? Does the bleach kill all of the mold, or do you have to worry about it infecting your health?

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    1. thanks for worrying Lindy, the bleach and water we used to clean the walls and rafters then we spayed the entire basement with a mold killer/preventer. And no it is perfectly safe to live here now.

  7. Wow that flooding was really horrific. And so much to deal with, yes I can see that even though you've had so much help its going to take time to recover. Yet yes, no place like home. Thanks for sharing this, I admire your courage and resilience. Enjoy dem weeds!

  8. I am glad the town come together, because that is horrible

  9. Wow! That must have been a scary experience. I am glad to hear you had help for family and friends.

  10. Oh goodness. What an ordeal. I'm glad the two of you at least (and princess pippa) were all safe though it all. It looks so good after yalls hard work. I know that was not an easy thing to go through at all. You are one tough cookie!

    1. thanks Anna and yes we are all safe and sound and this cookie is about to crumble :)

  11. Oh my goodness, how scary for you! I hope you get to take some time to rest and take care of yourself. So glad you had family to help you.