Floodwaters damage property, infrastructure in Story and Boone counties
Gilbert resident Chris Pellack began to take stock Wednesday morning of damage from floodwaters — one of many central Iowans surveying their property after heavy rains overnight inundated areas of Story and Boone counties.
Pellack lives in the 100 block of Matthews Drive in Gilbert and runs Pelican Woodcraft out of his garage.
Pellack said he quit his previous job as a bus driver in December to start his business, which crafts cutting and charcuterie boards, desks, tables, bookcases and other custom items.
“It was a hobby that I learned I was actually pretty good at,” and he said he had just bought a table saw for about $5,000 on Tuesday.
Then the rains came — 2 to 5 inches overnight in parts of Boone, Hamilton, Hardin, Marshall and Story counties, with WHO-TV reporting that more than 3 inches fell in Gilbert.
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Pellack said he realized there was a problem when his wife woke him up at about 6:15 a.m. to tell him they needed to move their cars. The rain filled a stormwater gully behind their home, eventually filling the garage up to a depth about shin-high and their home’s game room to about ankle-high.
“At one point, we were on the FEMA floodplain list,” but Pellack said the Federal Emergency Management Agency removed that designation from the property last year because there had not been a flood in some time.
He said they’ve lived there more than six years and had never had flooding like Wednesday’s before — just some ponding of water in the backyard.
Once FEMA removed the floodplain designation, Pellack said his mortgage lender canceled their flood insurance. Wastewater also came up through the drain in the garage during Wednesday’s flood, however, so he may be able to get some assistance through his business insurance. “I’m not quite certain what exactly is going to happen.”
Other power tools that might have been lost can run between $3,000 and $4,000 apiece, he said.
County emergency management coordinators also begin to do assessments
As of Wednesday morning, floodwater had not receded enough in areas for full damage assessments to get underway, but emergency management coordinators in Story and Boone counties did have some sense of what flooding had done.
Keith Morgan, Story County’s emergency management coordinator, said surveys were being done to identify where water had risen over roads.
Two roads in the county were closed because of flooding — 500th Avenue west of Ames, and 130th Street east of Roland.
Water also had risen over parks and walking trails in Gilbert, but Morgan said the water had not yet receded enough for damages to be determined.
Morgan also said Story County Emergency Management was working with Ames to evaluate any impacts of potential river flooding and see what responses might be needed.
Ames advised residents just after noon through a news release that potential impacts from rising waters in the Skunk River and Ioway Creek could include the area along SE 16th Street and South Dayton Avenue. “Flooding has also impacted some low-lying areas within Brookside Park.”
“Flooding is always a risk during times of significant rainfall. Residents should be prepared to move valuables, including vehicles, to higher ground,” according to the release.
Chris Hayes, Boone County’s emergency management coordinator, said “At this time most of our damage is concentrated to rural infrastructure,” meaning things such as washed-out roads, water over roads and drainage systems clogged with debris.
Hayes said damage assessments were ongoing throughout the county.
Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.