Rock Valley homeowners check flood water damage - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Rock Valley homeowners check flood water damage

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For more than 100 homeowners in the northwest Iowa community of Rock Valley, this is one week they won't soon forget. Wednesday was another day forced out of their homes because of flood water.

However, optimism remains high as some of them re-enter their homes on North Main Street for the first time to check on the damage.

Harm and Bonnie Wiersma have lived in their corner home for 26 years. They have spent a long time fixing it up with their bare hands. So, this week's extreme flooding along the Rock River was the last thing they thought would happen.

"It's a total mess and it's going to take a lot of cleaning up," Harm Wiersma said. It's totally overwhelming. Like a death in the family. It's your home, a safe haven. When it's filling up with water and there's nothing you can do, I can't describe the feeling."

"You see, in our house, as bad as it is, there are people down the street who have it far worse who will end up losing their home with several feet of water on the main floor and no way they'll recover their losses there," he said.

"We were extremely thankful it didn't get into our main floor. Our basement was full through the ceiling but we feel that we could save our house and we have hope of being in our home in the near future instead of months," Bonnie Wiersma said.

The damage varies from house to house but without any flood insurance, neighbors in Rock Valley will face the days ahead and have to recover all the same.

"Financially, this will be a little bit of a wall that we're not sure how we're going to climb. We have our home, each other and our children... so we're good," Bonnie said. 

For a community like Rock Valley this week, that's good enough for now.

Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo declared a state of emergency, Tuesday, while Governor Terry Branstad issued a disaster declaration. Branstad visited the community, Wednesday, during a tour of the hardest hit regions of northwest Iowa. The Department of Transportation has transported enough sand to fill 250,000 sandbags to help the flooding in Rock Valley. Thousands of volunteers have been in Rock Valley to help with flood relief efforts.

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