Residents discuss flood one year later


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July 15, 2014, Rexburg experienced a heavy downfall of rain that resulted in a major flood.

Alisa Fye, a Rexburg resident, said there was approximately 14 inches of water in her basement.

“We were just out in the driveway and in the street,” Fye said. “It was like a big swimming party and then we thought we should probably check the basement. By the time we were actually smart enough to go down there and look, there was an inch of water.”

Fye said the flood damaged her carpet and drywall as well as valuables in her basement.

“The flood that we had here last year was a product of really high rainfall,” said Greg Melton, a BYU-Idaho geology instructor.

Melton said when major rainfall occurs, the ground is not able to absorb it well, resulting in overland flow.

Melton said in the event of a flood, the water will go toward lower elevation, which can create massive floods.

“Here in Rexburg, a lot of that water got channeled by the streets, and if it overtops the curves and goes across parking lots, then it ends up in basement apartments,” Melton said.

Flood risk is not just based on history, but also on rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, river-flow, tidal-surge data and changes due to new construction and development, according to ready.gov, an organization associated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“As little as 6 inches of moving water can make you fall,” according to National Geographic.

If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving, according to National Geographic.

Melton said that what is actually in the water is never really known, so it is best to stay indoors whenever possible.

“Floodwaters will often pick up stuff that shouldn’t be floating around, and they can carry a lot,” Melton said. “They can usually have a very swift current.”

Just getting hit by floating debris, as well as contaminated water, you never really know what is in the water, if you have sewers backing up or that kind of stuff.”

Even if you feel you live in a community with a low risk of flooding, remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood, according to ready.gov.

Ready.gov warns that even if you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, it does not mean you will not in the future.

“If there is a second floor, get your valuables up and out of the floodwaters, especially if you have a basement,” Melton said.

He said one of the biggest issues with floods is not necessarily that the flood is going to wash stuff away.

He said that doesn’t happen as often as water damage itself.

“If you can store your valuables in something that is water tight or out of basements, that is what I would suggest,” Melton said.

Melton said anything sitting on the floor such as, furniture or rugs, needs to come up off the floor.

People should move to higher ground as soon as there is a possibility for a flood and not to wait for instruction to do so, according to ready.gov.

Ready.gov also suggests to move as much furniture as possible to a higher level if possible.

“If you are trying to avoid floods, you can go up a floor in a building if it is a large flood,” Melton said. “If you want to get completely away from the flood, go towards higher elevation; go up the hill.”

Take action as soon as signs of a flood occur, according to ready.gov.

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