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Flood of 2007

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Big storms are not a shock for those of us who live in the Midwest. We're used to them. We live by them. Sometimes, we even live for them—a lot of people in the area are farmers and need the rain to water their crops. But Mother Nature can be a cranky thing, and sometimes we get too much rain. Recently, we were hit by a storm that flooded our towns and roads in one weekend. This storm did in a matter of days what it took months to do during the Flood of 1993—it rushed over levies, swamped roads, and poured into homes all in a matter of days.

In one weekend in May of this year, farmland became a river bed. I never thought a few days of rain could do that to our area. I remember the Flood of '93. Our water treatment plant was flooded and we lost water. We had to bathe in my grandma's pool. The local beer distributor passed out cans of water or "party kegs" full of water. But that flood was a progressive flood. We were able to prepare for it. I remember looking in the news paper every day to see the river stage. The flood of 2007? There was no time to track the water level.

After being pounded by rain all weekend, my fiancé and I were sitting on the couch when his cousin called. He lived in a small town across the river ( Elwood, Kansas) and the town was having a meeting. The river was rising a foot an hour. In the Flood of '93, Elwood disappeared under the murky waters of the Missouri River. There was even a joke, "What's the only wood that doesn't float? Elwood." That night the flood dominated the local news coverage. Roads were covered and some towns were being evacuated.

The next morning I woke up and my sister-in-law called to tell me that Elwood was being evacuated. Her mother taught school there, her best friend lived there with her husband and two children, and my fiancé's cousin lived there with his family. They were all packing up and getting out of town. We went to help them pack that afternoon, and the city was a total mob scene. People were using anything they could find to move their belongings—pickup trucks, race car trailers, and moving vans. A line of trucks waited to get on the highway to get out of town. Yards (like the one in the picture I posted) where covered in standing water.

At home that night, I turned on the television and saw ABC Nightly News was reporting from my town. Same with the Weather Channel. Living in small town, it's not every day that you get to see your city on national television. Rumors were swirling that we were going to lose our water supply again. The local news channel had a news ticker running reminding everyone that, since the Flood of '93, the water treatment plant had been moved out of the flood plain. Any rumors that we were going to lose water were completely false.

They had been predicting rain for the rest of week, so everyone had been on edge, wondering just how bad it was going to get. Thankfully, the rain never came, and the river receded. Elwood was never flooded and the residents were able to return home. Some people said they will never return to Elwood, though. They've been through one too many threats there. Many are having flashbacks of the Flood of '93, when so many of their lives were washed away by the river. We're just hoping this isn't the beginning of another summer spent watching the river level every day.

For more photos, please see http://npgdigital.com/flood2007/

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