Dayton Recovers from Record Floods

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DAYTON, Iowa - Flash flooding Friday in Dayton meant a slow, slippery mess for residents Saturday.

"It was quick. It was a torrential downpour," said Rachel Bauer.  "It was the worst I've ever seen, except for '93. '93 was pretty bad, but my yard got flooded. It was all over the street, couldn't get down the road. It was horrible."

People who have called Dayton home for decades say they can't remember seeing the water levels get this high in years.

"Never this high," said Norm Vegors. "Once before, it's been, I suppose, up to the second wire down there. But not like this. This is bad."

Flooded fields and backyards are a problem, sure. But it's the town's main attraction - the rodeo grounds - that came to most local's minds first.

"The road down by the rodeo grounds is torn up, so they'll have to do a lot of repair on that," Bauer said. "It's going to be a mess. It's going to be a muddy mess. They're all going to be in a disaster."

It's the rodeo grounds that bring people - and dollars - through a small town like Dayton. With a show set to open next weekend, workers are working even harder to correct the damage.

"It's just like economics anywhere - one dollar spent here rolls over 7 times before it leaves," Vegors said. "And what it can do economically to a town."

But Vegors says at least one good thing came out of the floods - a realization to be better prepared in the future.

"No town can build utilities to handle something like this," he said. "And me, I've never had flood insurance. I am going to buy flood insurance now."

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