Cleanup was underway in Galesburg, Illinois, Wednesday evening, after Tuesday night’s rain created flash flooding that swamped streets, cars and houses.
Some of the most extreme damage was at Carl Sandburg College, where water pooled up in the circle drive before bursting through the entrance, taking the front doors, desks and computers with it. Security cameras captured the rushing water.
“It created what I would call a tidal wave in our lower level,” said CSC President Lori Sundberg. “You don’t expect that; Certainly, I was completely shocked.”
On Oriole Drive, homeowners were picking up the pieces as well. Lori VanFleet spent the day pulling out her basement carpet and draining the remaining water from the house.
“We have a sump pump, just the power went out, so it flooded the basement within minutes. We had about 3 to 5 inches,” said VanFleet.
Just blocks away, folks on Edgewood Drive considered themselves the lucky ones. Don Miyler has lived on the street for 48 years, and said he’s never seen flooding like Tuesday night.
“As long as I’ve lived here, this is the most scared I’ve ever been, because I thought my house was gone,” said Miyler.
The water came up 44 inches on Miyler’s fence. Next door, the water went right over the top and eventually collapsed the fence altogether.
“It just sounded like two cars came together. Everybody said, ‘What’s that, what’s that?'” said Miyler.
Despite the messy days of cleanup ahead, though, many in Galesburg felt an overwhelming sense of relief Wednesday.
“We have a lot of debris that we have to clean out… but no one hurt, so we’re extremely grateful,” said Sundberg.
“I feel like I dodged a bullet, because it could have been… wow,” added Miyler.