Jenna and Mike Miller's North Cedar home in Cedar Falls was destroyed by the flood in 2008.
"Mark said go get the things you cannot live without and we are going to take it up to the second floor and my first thought was I've got to get my piano up there that's the thing that I can't live without," said Jenna Miller.
The Millers lost everything, but they were one of many who decided to stay and rebuild their home.
"We raised the house enough that we should at least have a few inches if it does happen again to the level that it happened before," said Jenna Miller.
"A lot of houses if you drive around and look at them they're about one floor up. So there is just maybe a garage or dirt build up. So a lot of people have chosen to stay and some said hey I'll take the risk," said Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews.
About 500 homes in Cedar Falls were damaged by floodwaters. City officials say it's good that homeowners are prepared, and their towns will also be better prepared for Mother Nature in the future.
"The city is planning and should hopefully start construction later this year, early next year on a flood wall that will match that so the whole downtown, the utilities, individual homes around the downtown and treatment plant should all be at the 500-year protection level," said Crews.
The Cedar River crested in Waterloo June 11 at a little over 27 feet.
Tim Hurley, Waterloo's mayor during the 2008 flood, credits the city's levee system for saving much of Waterloo.
"While there's a lot of damage on the near east and the near west side, and a lot of heartache and a lot of business loss, we weren't anywhere near like our good friends and fellow Iowans in Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Iowa City," Hurley said. "The levee really saved Waterloo."
As for protection in the future, the city has invested in several lift stations to help minimize flooding.
"What a lift station does is basically picks it up and throws it back over top of the levees into the river," said Jamie Knutson, Associate City Engineer. "It helps to minimize flooding on the dry side of the levees. It won't ever eliminate it completely, because we just can't afford that quite frankly, but it will help minimize it."
Monday, September 1 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:41:17 GMT
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