Family’s Lehigh Home in Danger of Flooding

LEHIGH, Iowa – Most of the time the Johnson family of Lehigh enjoys having their home right on the Des Moines River. But now their house is in the river and the only way to get to it is by canoe. The street sign, “River Street” says it all.

“The Des Moines River at it’s finest,” Mark Johnson says. “Just watching it raise basically.”

This isn’t the first time the Johnsons have seen flooding like this. That’s one of the downsides of living by the Des Moines River.

“In 2010 the water level came up to here,” Dena Johnson recalls pointing to a spot about three feet high on her porch. “And that was the highest that it’s ever been since we’ve lived here and we’ve lived here since 1993. And we had to have a motorboat, had it tied up to the deck. And step on the ledge into the boat to get out and that was the only way could.”

With a combination of prayers and plywood, the Johnsons say they are about as ready as they can be. “We use plywood and caulk against the brick,” Mark Johnson says. “The brick holds it out and we got four big sump pumps in the basement to keep the water below the floor line is all.”

“You can’t control mother nature,” Dena Johnson adds. “And this is what happens when you live along a waterway and it’s part of life. Everything’s not always perfect but you make the best of it.”

The Johnsons say they doubt the river will rise enough to fill their home with water. But if it does, the family says they will just clean up the mess like they have in the past.

5 comments

    • Ishmale Whale

      This is not the first time the house became in the river. I doubt they could afford flood insurance due to how close they are to the river. They must keep the basement empty for when this happens. If it was not for it being brick, a wooden house would float away. Not much different than people who rebuild in tornado prone areas.

  • Barbara Miller Brown

    I have NO sympathy for people that buy , build or live close to the river. Insurance companies should NOT insure them , the house , furniture, personal belongings, cars, tools , clothes……………NOTHING …………I am sick of my insurance fees being raised because they are stupid enough to live there and the INS. Companies are stupid enough to sell insurance to them ……………….same goes for people that lose everything in mountain wild fires.

    • Becky Whitson-Schmidt

      Ms. Brown, where do you live? In a magically enhanced glass bubble? Hopefully it doesn’t hail there. Did you even read the story or watch the video???? There was……. NOTHING……. in it about Insurance or asking for help or sympathy. It was simply saying this is how they live here and that it was possible if you were prepared.

  • Roberta Joanides

    I have sympathy for the family living there. How about other people who get effected by hurricanes, tornados, talk about mother nature. She strikes in many different ways. Hopefully the family has insurance and the family is ok. My prayers goes out to the family

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