Big Sioux leaves a mess in Akron that may take months to clean up
AKRON, Iowa (KTIV) -
A week ago, people in Akron, Iowa started preparing for the Big Sioux River to reach new levels. The river crested at over 25 feet, nearly two feet higher than the previous record. While the Big Sioux River is receding, you wouldn't know it by looking at Highway 48, which connects South Dakota to Iowa through Akron. The river's waters are still lapping over the road.
"It just came over so fast, so much all at once,” described Akron, IA Mayor Harold Higman. “This flood was monumental compared to any flood we've had in the past,” added the life-long Northwest Iowa resident.
Last Monday night, residents started to prepare.
"We kind of got caught off guard. It wasn't supposed to hit here until Thursday and then Tuesday night is when it roared right up there,” recalled Jason Combs, a volunteer firefighter.
That rush of water collapsed part of Jean Waterbury's basement wall.
"I ain't going down there,” Waterbury said standing at the top of the basement’s stairs. “If I don't see it, it won't bother me quite as much as if I see it,” she explained.
The business district stayed dry, but residents on the south edge of town were hit hard.
"Maybe we can all just come in here and clean that thing out. It's going to be buckets and shovels,” Combs told Waterbury after taking the trip down to the basement, to see the damage.
"I was afraid of that,” she replied.
Now, people in Akron are leaning on each other.
"You have to rely on people. There isn't anything else you can do," said Waterbury.
“A small town like Akron, when help is needed it isn't a town, it becomes a community,” Higman pointed out.
A flood of support, pours in, in the face of disaster.
Higman said they're still adding up how much the flood cost the city, a figured that will be submitted to FEMA. He added that the city will also apply for federal funding to add a flood gate to their levee.
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