Wellman hit by flash flooding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wellman hit by flash flooding

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WELLMAN (KWWL) - Monday night's rainfall was too much for the North English River and Smith Creek to handle. They spilled over their banks early Tuesday morning, into the city of Wellman.

Danette Blum found herself wading through knee-deep floodwaters early that morning.

"Where we're standing now was completely underwater," said Blum, standing feet away from her front window.

The North English River, normally tucked behind the tree line south of her home, was still lapping at her doorstep Tuesday afternoon. It left trash and other items from neighboring homes in her yard, as it slowly receded. Her convertible, like many other vehicles, was still submerged. 

"I have never seen it up over our road, and it was over our road this time," Blum said.

However, the sense of community remains strong here.

"I don't know how many people have come down and said, 'if you need help getting your stuff moved out, give us a call, we'll be there,'" Blum said.

As some homeowners work to move belongings up and away from floodwaters, Aaron Shumaker, the city's public works director, is making his rounds to get a rough estimate of the damage, before the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrives.

"They'll send in a damage assessment team in a few days, assuming the water doesn't come back up again," Shumaker said.

While the city waits for federal disaster relief, all its residents can do is hope for the rain to stop. When it comes to actually preparing for flooding in Wellman, Shumaker says there's not a lot the city can do, because so much of the surrounding area is so low.

"We've got some sandbags that we use down at the fire station, but the amount of land area that's involved here, there's just really nothing you can do," Shumaker said.

Blum calls it one more disaster on a long list that keeps growing for Iowans.

"Flooding, dams breaking, its just I've never seen it like this before," Blum said.

The Grant Wood Area Red Cross is offering free clean up kits for people in Wellman. They include a mop, broom, gloves, trash bags, bucket and bleach. The kits are available at city hall.

Online Reporter: Brady Smith 

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