Davison County estimates more than $5 million in damages due to flooding

Published: Sep. 26, 2019 at 7:06 PM CDT
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Davison County estimates more than $5 million in damages from flash flooding earlier this month.

So far, the county has had 200 claims come in for flood damage, but the Davison County Emergency Manager, Jeff Bathke, says that number could eventually be in the thousands.

"We've had people with water in their basements who never had water in their basements before," he said.

Bill Wittstruck lived in his home for 30 years and never experienced damage like this. He has seen water in his garage before due to flash flooding, but it has never reached his home. He is still picking up the pieces from the flood.

"It filled the basement up, and it filled the garage," Wittstruck said. "The traffic came though here and caved the doors in with the water waves. And we had a foot of water in my kitchen and living room."

Linus Mayer, a Mitchell resident, is living in his camper across the street from his home while construction crews work to fix his caved-in basement.

"I got woke up about between twelve and one and heard a big crash," Mayer said. "And I thought a shelf just fell over. But, the next morning I open the basement door and the water was level with the floor."

Seeing his home on stilts and suffering this much damage is devastating for him.

"I am too old to be doing this," he said. "It's my retirement money."

Patzer Woodworking has now reopened after suffering significant damage. The more than 30-year-old, family-owned business had just set up for a showing when the water crept in. Not only did the water destroy nearly 100 cabinets already built, but it also caused a scary situation for the family. Ryan Patzer, Patzer Woodworking part-owner, says his wife was at the store hosting a Tupperware party when the rain fell.

"While she was here water started coming, and at first it was fun," Patzer said. "And it was about three-four inches. And they went out to leave, and the water had risen so high that they couldn't even get to their vehicles. Because it was already up to the height of their cars."

Patzer Woodworking says many area businesses were offering help during their time of need.

Everyone I spoke to working to repair their homes and businesses had the same motto; community. They say they are thankful everyone is coming together to help one another.

"Honestly, everybody has been amazing," Amanda Neppl, Patzer Woodworking part-owner, said. "It's honestly been hard to hold back the tears just because of all the love that we felt."

The Davison County Emergency Manager wants to remind people if they have any damages due to flooding to let them know. The link to their page is listed in the related links tab.

Now that the county has declared a disaster declaration, the Governor can declare a state disaster. Then, it moves on to President Trump, who will consider all the damages before the FEMA process starts.