2019 Flood Day 1

Year recount of the Flood by Micah Huyser 4/15/2020

The morning of; Scenic lake front property

On the night of July 9th 2019 torrential rain had caused massive flooding along Central Nebraska. For the museum, this is actually the fourth time it has flooded. Though it is the first time it has flooded since 1988 when they installed the berm on the southern side of the museum.

From the Director; I can remember waking up in the morning and looking at my phone to see a barrage of messages. I remember one vividly from my mother saying something like, “you’re going to have a long day.” So I got ready and headed out to the museum. When I got there, there were cars parked along the shoulder of the highway and the water was within a foot of going over the ditches. As some of the staff and I looked out at the lake that had over the night had formed. We flagged a city utility truck as it was going north out of town to stop. We asked if they could turn off the power to the facility, we knew there were floor outlets that I don’t think anyone wanted to test if they were live or not. But after putting on their waiters and realizing the water was well over five feet deep in places they needed access to they decided to come back once the water had receded a little. I decided to walk around to the backside of the museum to get in through the back of the Shrock hall that didn’t appear to have any water damage. Once inside I noticed everything to be fine, until I reached the town square. In places there were only slightly damp carpet, in others there were three to five inches of standing water. I noticed in some places that it went well above my ankles. When I had gotten back outside there were a lot more vehicles from volunteers and the City crew had returned with a different strategy on getting to a different point to turn off the power.

Noon to Dusk; Pushing, sucking, and hating water.

Once the power had been shut off the real work began. The water had, by that point, been lower than the thresholds of the doors. Volunteers that had shown up to help sprang to action using squeegees at first to push the standing water out of the building. While some of the volunteers and staff pushed water, some worked on getting the very wet materials out of the water. This was dresses, wood barrels, and anything that was directly touching the ground. We set up a dry section on tables in the Shrock Hall to house them while they dried out. Two of the luckiest realizations were that the water wasn’t high enough to touch the books on the shelves and reach the artifacts in the display cases. Once the standing water was dealt with, volunteers then grabbed any available shop vac in the county to start soaking up the water from the carpets. Within the first day all the standing water was removed and the next hurdle needed to be addressed, mold reduction and repair.

Will be posting Day two and the subsequent days here to come. Another praise and shout out to all the volunteers that helped out. They were rock stars and we absolutely could not have accomplished what we have without them. Phelps county is an amazing place to live and in the face of catastrophe they come together and get things done.

Thank you – Micah Huyser

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