On Thursday, the Iowa River crested at 15 feet and the only way in and out of Chelsea was by boat.
It’s not the first time this town that sits in a floodplain in the Iowa River Valley has flooded.
People say 1993 and 2008 were worse.
Last week, there was more than enough water to send most of the town’s 200 residents to higher ground.
“I don’t think there is more than a handful of people who are staying,” said Leif Morris, Mayor of Chelsea.
Four days later, river levels have dropped a couple of feet and some people are back to assess the damage to their homes.
Leon Walker is doing the exact opposite.
“I’ll probably get a ride out of town. Then I’ll go back into the house,” said Walker.
He’s been stuck at home the past four days, unable to go anywhere since his truck is under water.
Monday, a volunteer fire fighter drove him out of Chelsea.
Emergency vehicles are the only way to get across the main roads which still sit under several feet of water in some places.
“It was like three or four feet deep outside the house,” Walker told Channel 13 News.
Over the next few days, most will return and start the old familiar process of getting things in order before the next big flood.
“That’s the biggest thing is getting things cleaned off, dried off, and we’ll try to return to normal,” said Morris.
A volunteer fire fighter estimates that 20 of the town’s 200 residents have returned.