Looking back on the June 2008 Floods - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Steph Anderson

Looking back on the June 2008 Floods

IOWA/MINNESOTA (FOX 47) -- One year ago, a two-day severe weather event left a scar many won't soon forget.

Steph says, "The other things to be concerned with these storms are not only the potential for tornadoes, but very large damaging hail, damaging winds, as well - very heavy rains."

Disbelief could be one word to describe how many were feelings after June 7th and 8th of 2008.

Severe weather brought tornadoes: one confirmed in each Iowa and Minnesota, 4 in western Wisconsin; high winds and hail. But the biggest scar: the major flooding for numerous communities.

"This is an incredible situation here with all the water."

In Decorah, river levels on the Upper Iowa River at Decorah and Bluffton saw record flood stages. Parts of Decorah were without power. Some residents were forced to evacuate.

"It's creating a lot of damage right now. We're waiting for pumps to be able to pump it out."

Sandbagging efforts became even more difficult as dams broke.

"I was down here yesterday afternoon to help sandbag out there, you can tell it didn't do anything."

"There's water coming over the dyke it seems frustrating because you don't feel like you're getting anywhere."

"It started to come up quite a bit on Saturday and then Sunday it really went fast."

In Charles City, the Cedar River there had a record crest at over 25 and a half feet.

"I just didn't think it was going to come up that high."

The two main traffic bridges in Charles City were closed, splitting the city in half. The walking suspension bridge in town collapsed. And most secondary roads were washed out.

"It's not good. It's hard to look at especially considering some of our historical monuments here in town have been wiped out."

"We've had considerable flooding in neighborhoods several feet high. Vehicles halfway under water and whatnot and we haven't been able to gain access on foot so we've been using boats to get those people out."

For Mason City residents, the water level was one never seen before.

"Well the whole thing has really been unbelievable. The tremendous amount of water that's built up in the city is the worst it's ever been."

"To actually see it finally breaking the levee and rushing towards you, it's like, oh wow. Here it comes. This is real."

"I've never seen it like this. Never. I was born and raised here so I've never seen it this high."

The flooding was so extensive that the city had to shut down their water plant.

"It's going to be tough not having any water."

Residents wouldn't have water for days.

"We need to wait for the announcement that the water now drinkable."

In Austin, residents who were all-too familiar with past floods could only hope for the best.

"It's just kind of a waiting game and praying, you know, and hope it doesn't get any higher."

Fillmore County's southern half was flooded out. In Houston County, flooding was so widespread that all roads were closed at one point. Residents in the southern half of the county were asked to evacuate. Mudslides and downed trees were everywhere.

There were many nerve-racking days that followed, before the water receded and life started to return back to normal.

But for storm-weary residents, normal has been tough to come by the last two years when weather is involved.

"I mean it's just incredible. What Mother Nature can do is just unbelievable."

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