HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Only a few hours of sunlight shone on Howard County Tuesday, between storms and tornado warnings overnight to a deluge of rain after daybreak. Dozens of residents had to clear their schedules Tuesday to clean up what the storms left behind.
Wesley Jeffries says he and his wife bought their home in the 1200 block of North Leeds in Kokomo four years ago through VA benefits. Early Tuesday morning he says his wife discovered the water in the tap wasn’t flowing. A trip down to the basement proved the water problem was bigger than just the plumbing.
“All of a sudden we were getting a couple thousand gallons a minute,” Jeffries says.
With two days of straight rain Jeffries says the soil around his house liquefied, pushing the basement wall into the home and sending gallons of water, cinderblocks, wooden paneling, and water pipe pieces into the lower level. He believes the house is a total loss.
“About the only thing they could do is bulldoze it down, fill it in, and start from scratch,” he said.
Jeffries says officials from the fire department told him that at least for now, it’s not safe to go back inside his home.
“Me and the wife are at Motel 6 until 11 o’clock tomorrow,” he said. “And after that if we don’t hear from the insurance company, I don’t know what we’re going to do. My guess is we aren’t going to hear from the insurance company.”
Homeowners in the Frederick Farms neighborhood on the northwest side of Kokomo are also fighting for their homes. Two retention ponds swelled to overflowing and combined, sending water over the roads, driveways, and even into a home.
“There was nothing we could do about it,” said Dan Pointer, a 10-year resident of Frederick Farms. “It just came in our front door underneath the cracks even though we had it closed. And it just inundated the whole house.”
Pointer said at around 5 a.m. Tuesday he woke up to two inches of water in the house and four or five in his yard. He and his neighbors were effectively “flooded-in” to their homes and had to wait until the water receded to drive their cars down the neighborhood streets. Pointer says he’s had fans running inside throughout the day and has also been told he can’t sleep in his home tonight.
“I don’t know where we’re going to stay tonight. Probably with my parents or something,” he said.
His neighbors also reported flooded cars and yards, and said they haven’t seen the retention ponds this full in years. With more rain on the way, homeowners like the Pointers are already preparing with sandbag walls around their property.
“I’m concerned that we have a lot more rain on the way,” he said. “And I never thought it’d do what it did and I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”