For one Buchanan County resident, flooding has become a fact of life.
Lewis and Clark Village resident Wade Braaten’s home is one of a few in the area that has had flood water inside for a good couple of months during this year’s prolonged flood period.
“You can see different water levels and watermarks,” Braaten said as he pointed at the marks on his new shed. “It flooded one time, OK, we dealt with it. It went down but it destroyed everything. Of course, then it hits again and again. It is kind of disheartening.”
Lewis and Clark, a small town near Rushville, Missouri, surrounds Sugar Lake, which is always impacted by high waters on the Missouri River. When water is released by the Missouri Corps of Engineers during already high water, it creates serious problems for the people in the small town. The area was impacted in the 2011 floods and now this year with the consistent rains and record releases has made it hard on folks once again.
Braaten purchased his house two and a half years ago, and he said the seller did not make him aware that he was five feet below floodplain. He and his wife dreamed of a place on the lake to renovate and make their perfect retirement home. That quickly changed once flooding started this spring.
He did not know that a flood was coming until he heard a knock on his door.
“The gas company comes up and says ‘What time do you want pick up (the) propane tank?’” Braaten said. Well I asked ‘Why are you picking up my propane tank?’ The worker said the Corps of Engineers is going to be dumping a lot of water this place is going to be flooded Saturday.”
He and his family packed up their things in a couple of days. They left less-important items for later. When the damage had been done, a local church was able to help him strip his house of moldy wood and material.
“Wade’s house flooded every single time, and it had 3 or 4 feet of water every flood,” Bill Brinton, the emergency management coordinator for Buchanan County said. “You buy a house, you think you are going to have a house by the lake. You are excited about your future, and then an unprecedented third flood comes along. It is horrible.”
Braaten had a simple answer when asked if he would have gone through the process of purchasing the house again.
“No, if I had known that I would not have bought this house,” Braaten said.
But Braaten also acknowledges that the local church, new friends and neighbors and getting three months free storage at a facility have been blessings in disguise.
“God works in strange and miraculous ways. Everything comes into place,” Braaten said.
He is planning on being able to raise his house up and build it up again this coming spring.