PACIFIC JUNCTION, Iowa — It has been over a week since southwest Iowa was hit with devastating flooding, including the town of Pacific Junction. Residents say it will never be the same.
“It is devastating, but it’s not the end for us, where it is extremely bad for a lot of people,” Doug Mayo said.
Mayo never thought his hometown of Pacific Junction would flood.
“We got a couple of suitcases packed, got safety deposit boxes, important papers, that kind of thing, ready to go if we needed it. But I was planning on, ‘we’re not going anywhere,'” Mayo said.
But by 5:00 p.m. last Sunday, he and his wife had to leave their home and most of their belongings behind.
“There are certain things that are irreplaceable, but you try to be pragmatic about it and say, ‘but we got each other,’ ‘we got out OK,’ ‘we’re OK,’” Mayo said.
Still evacuated, Mayo hasn’t seen his home or the town of Pacific Junction since he left, but he says drone footage shows the little bit of his house still above water.
“Which amounts to three gray roofs,” Mayo said. “I’ve seen a couple other pictures and we know almost for sure the attic in our house, we had some things up there, it’s up higher than that.”
That is why the area chamber of commerce and the Mills County Emergency Management team is providing free meals, donated items, and water at the local YMCA in the neighboring town of Glenwood.
“They don’t have anywhere else to go,” Jeni Kirsch, board member for the Glenwood area chamber of commerce said. “A lot of our displaced families are staying in campers, hotels, with some family, but the resources are getting pretty slim there so they come here and get their hot meals.”
Officials say the water is having trouble receding from Pacific Junction, meaning it could be some time before residents can get back to their homes.
“Many of our neighbors have water up to literally the gutters of their home, so it’s just not going anywhere,” Kirsch said.
Glenwood was also hit by the floods. The town’s water treatment plant was destroyed leaving all their residents on a water boil advisory indefinitely.
“It really is traumatic for them. They really have lost everything,” Kirsch said.
In trying to conserve water, Glenwood has multiple people using portable toilets including all the students at the Glenwood schools.