Floods show we have some great neighbors
As bad as parts of New Hampton were hit by floodwaters on Tuesday night, those of us in the city who went to bed early Wednesday morning may have figured Chickasaw County had dodged a bullet.We couldn’t have been more wrong.While we got plenty of rain — officially, the National Weather Service recorded 3.71 inches of precipitation in New Hampton — it stopped pouring at 11 p.m., but little did we know that the rain kept coming in the northern part of Chickasaw County.By the time Mother Nature finally ceased and desisted at 3:30 Wednesday morning, areas from Jerico to Saude had been deluged by close to 7 inches of rain.For many in town, the first clue that something was amiss came when we received text messages that New Hampton Community Schools was first delaying the start of the school day by two hours and then calling off classes for the entire day.We dubbed it the Flood of 2016, and for anyone who tried to get around northern Chickasaw County on Wednesday, you know we weren’t being melodramatic. Numerous roads were under water, and rural residents spent a good part of that day bailing out their basements and trying to keep floodwaters at bay.It was also a tragic day as 77-year-old Albert Gott lost his life when his car was swept off the road south of Protivin. It goes without saying that our hearts go out to Albert’s family as we once again learned just how powerful water can be.At the same time, we learned that in and around Chickasaw County we have great neighbors.When school was cancelled, coaches and teachers rallied their athletes and students to help with sandbagging, and scores of young people began filling and delivering sandbags to residents trying to stave off the high waters.For those of you who think our kids are going to you-know-where, we believe Wednesday proved that you are wrong. For hours, high school and middle school students worked side-by-side with those affected by the flood, and we can’t thank them enough for their volunteering spirit.It will be — as Chickasaw County Engineer Dusten Rolando put it — months before Chickasaw County will return to normal. Our roads are a mess right now, and while many have reopened, they aren’t in great driving condition.But we will make it through this, because, as we showed on Wednesday, we have a can-do spirit second to none.