"I saw the water creeping up the lawn and then enter under the front door 3AM last Sunday morning (Aug 27). Once the water started getting in, I knew this time was going to be much worse (the house had flooded twice before in the past 2 years, but before that had never flooded in its 60 year history). Everyone was sleeping but me – I was way too anxious to sleep. Once again, I was scared to death I’d have to swim out with my two boys (Noah-4 years old and Judah-3 years old) in the filthy contaminated water (which in some spots contained snakes, alligators, and fire ants).
Once the water got a few inches high I woke up my husband, Ron, and we transferred our sleeping kids to our bed, and they soon woke up to find themselves surrounded by dark water. We had to get out, but the water outside was higher than the water inside the house. The house is only one level, so there was no second floor to escape too if the water got too high. When the water was at nearly 3 feet, we managed to get out. We have a neighbor that rebuilt after the first flood, a new house with an elevated first floor. No one lives in it. It’s not yet finished and is still under construction. The neighbor gave us the code to the keypad, so we’d be able to enter. We put the boys on the couch which floated like a raft, and we floated them over to the next door house in waist-deep black water. Ron went back to the house a few times to get some basic necessities to float over on the couch because we had to sleep in the next door house which was completely empty. We slept on the wooden floor with a few blankets that Ron managed to get that were still dry. We salvaged some pull-ups for my younger son and we were able to get by until the flooding waters receded about 1.5 days later. A friend picked us up to bring us to stay at another friend’s house when the local roads were passable. Both our cars are completely flooded and a total loss, just as the house is.
Due to the fact that this is our third flood and the damage was so great this time, we worry that thecity permitting restrictions (based on FEMA rules) will not allow us to restore the house. We wouldbe forced to either tear down the house and build new, or raise the house several feet to meet flood plain elevation code. We don’t have the money needed to raise the house, which is not covered by insurance. FEMA has an ICC grant that provides maximum $30K toward raising the house (if we qualify), but the total cost of raising our house is approximately $200,000 So we need to somehow come up with the other $170K (we don’t have anything close to that kind of money). If, on the off chance, that we qualify to restore the house at its current ground level, we face the likelihood of flooding yet again. If we opt to sell "as is", it would only go for land value because an investor would tear down and build new. In this case, we take a tremendous financial loss on a house and may not even be able to pay off the house loan. We also really loved that house and the community. At this juncture, raising the house is our only real option to avoid flooding again, if we can raise the money to do so.
Another significant challenge we are facing is finding and affording long term residence, which will now mean a monthly rent bill (approximately $25K for one year) in addition to our mortgage, property taxes, kids’ daycare, etc.
Despite losing many valuables and memorabilia in the flood waters, we know we are more fortunate than some of the others affected by this catastrophic flood, and we are all incredibly grateful we got out safely."
- James Rogers
- Donna Nager
- F Micabalo
- Michael Kamion
- jeremy meisel
Organizer and beneficiary
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