Families Assess Damage as Flood Waters Begin to Recede

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OGLE COUNTY (WIFR) – For the last week we've been updating you on river levels across the Stateline and while some waters have hit record highs, it’s the stories behind the numbers that are starting to come out. In Ogle County, homeowners are starting to rebuild.

“Very upset, very sad, and very nerve wrecking,” said 24 year-old Shaunda Thompson about her experience over the last two weeks.

She was standing in her backyard holding her son as she looked out onto the Rock River which, just over a week ago, was up to her home in Irwin Acres.

“It’s taken a toll on all of us,” she explained. “I love the river, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like it when it’s in my house. I hate it when it’s in my house.”

The recent flood forced water levels to rise to record highs in some areas. Shaunda’s neighborhood was hit especially hard. For a while, families only had one way to get to and from their homes.

“They used row boats,” she says. “They parked up along the highway, and use your row boat to go across the river...well...across the cornfield across the street to your front door or your back porch just to get in your house."

Today levels are receding. Now it’s time for Shaunda’s stepfather Larry Newhausen to rebuild the house.

"I just turned sixty last summer, so it's getting harder all the time,” said Newhausen. "This is our second time in three years. You never look forward to them. You live on the river, you expect to get wet sooner or later."

Newhausen says this year’s flood isn't the worst he’s seen.

"It was more difficult last time,” he explained. “When I put it back together last time, I made a few changes and made it easier for the next time."

Shaunda says this flood makes her want to move from the house she’s spent 16 years living in.

"I don't think I can live through another one,” she said. “I really don't. It's nasty, I mean, just look at the house, it's gone pretty much."

She did say she is grateful for her neighbors. Their house wasn't damaged and they’re letting Shaunda’s family stay there while her house and life are rebuilt.


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