Severe rain storm floods Wellman
WELLMAN — After getting an estimated 6 inches of rain in a short amount of time Tuesday morning, a flash flood left much of the City of Wellman — including about 30 residences, the fire station, and the wastewater treatment plant — under water.
City Administrator Dave Ross said that at about 2 a.m. Smith Creek, which runs slightly south of Wellman into the English River, overflowed its banks. Shortly after noon he reported the water was slowly receding. Reports from North English were that the water was slowly draining. Based on this, Ross believes it may be a while before all the water drains from the city.
“There is nowhere for it to go,” he said. “I’ve heard reports the English River is backing up in Kalona.”
An emergency meeting was held earlier today between the city, the fire department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Emergency Management, Alliant Energy and the city’s private natural gas provider to determine the best course of action to serve the people. Officials are considering applying to have Wellman declared a disaster area. Ross said anyone with storm damage should report it to city hall. He also said Wellman residents should create as little wastewater as possible, as the local plant had to be bypassed due to the flooding.
Ross said a damage survey is being done this afternoon. He believes tomorrow he will have a better idea how much damage the flood caused and how many people were displaced.
This morning firefighters were moving trucks and equipment from the fire station, which had been overflowed with about 2 feet of floodwater. As the trucks were moved to higher ground. Firefighters equipped the trucks with boats, waders, and other equipment that could be used to rescue people trapped by the flood. Wellman Assistant Fire Chief Jared Kinsinger said the fire department had been called at about 4 a.m. to rescue a family — including an infant using oxygen — from a flooded area. At the time he said it had been difficult getting some of the trucks out due to the water level. Washington County Rescue responded with its water rescue equipment. Firefighters were setting up a temporary fire station in downtown Wellman and planning to call the Red Cross to help the people who were displaced.
“Anybody who needs assistance, we’re going to see they get it,” Kinsinger said.
For the full story, see the Aug. 3 edition of The Washington Evening Journal