Flooding compounds nightmarish clean up situation for those still dealing with damage from July

The Austin's basement saw another two and a half feet of flooding overnight Tuesday.
The Austin’s basement saw another two and a half feet of flooding overnight Tuesday.

The forecast couldn’t have been more unwelcome for Prairie Village residents Don and Shelby Austin.

For the past three and a half weeks, the couple and their children had been doing their best to salvage what they could from their basement and garage, where several feet of water rose in the late July flooding. After spreading many of their possessions out on their lawn to dry, and filling up dumpsters with the items that couldn’t be saved, they were inching toward getting the house back in working order.

On Tuesday, they got pushed back closer to square one.

The new hot water heater that had just gotten up and running was ruined when Tuesday and Wednesday’s storms sparked a fresh round of flooding at Brush Creek along Mission Road that led to two and a half feet of water in their basement yet again.

“The new HVAC was to be installed this morning, thank God,” Don said Tuesday morning after the storms had passed. “We honestly have no idea what to do.”

The Austins aren’t alone in their woes. Damage from the latest round of flooding was so widespread that Johnson County declared yet another emergency declaration.

“Once again, Johnson County has experienced significant flooding and, in anticipation of damages we are still assessing, we issued a local disaster declaration,” said Dan Robeson, Johnson County’s emergency management coordinator. “This has been submitted to the state and allows the county to request additional resources and potential funding assistance for public facilities and roadways, and activates the response and recovery elements of local and inter-jurisdictional disaster emergency plans.”

In Leawood, parks officials were able to relocate a number of vehicles stored in their facility at 104th Street and State Line when they saw rain in the forecast. But some of the equipment at the facility that had been damaged by the July 27 flood was inoperable and couldn’t be moved. Most of it had already been declared a total loss by the insurance company, said Parks and Recreation Superintendent Brian Anderson, but a couple of the vehicles had been possibly salvageable before this week’s flooding.

“There was a skid loader in there that the insurance company was debate whether should be replaced or repaired, but this round of flooding was deeper than the last one,” Anderson said. “You kind of figure that it’s probably a loss now. Who would have thought you’d get a flood again and worse than before. It’s just unbelievable.”