On 27 August, 2017 we woke up to a loud noise at 3:30 am. At the time we did not know it but it was a large limb that landed on our roof near the kitchen. When Jennifer and I got up to investigate we did not see what caused the noise, but did notice that the room that was converted from a screen porch had about 3 inches of water. This is the room where our three cats spend the night. They were pretty excited about the water in their room, and not in a good way. We knew that it would not be long before water was going to be all throughout the house. Jennifer woke up Allison and we all started going around the house picking up things near the floor and setting them on higher places.
Before we knew it, the whole house had about 3 inches of water and rising. I went into the front room to look out the bay window to see how much water was in our yard. I saw the most curious thing, the water on the window outside was about a foot higher than that in the house. I knew then we needed to evacuate. About that time a friend knocked on our door and said he had a Jet Ski and he would take us to his house since it has an upper floor. We talked through the door since the water was a lot higher outside than inside. I told him we had three people, three cats and two dogs that we needed to get out of here. He said he would go get a raft to pull behind the Jet Ski.
Then I did the most curious thing, I called our insurance company. I am not sure why I thought to do this, but this helped tremendously later since they go by first come first serve. When the agent answered the phone he said I was the first one to call in a claim for the flood. At one point he asked how high the water was in the house. I said that when I called it was about three inches but now it is knee deep. He said that we should think about getting out of there soon.
A few minutes later as I walked around the house, I noticed something I never thought of, the sights and sounds of water flooding a house at a rapid pace. There were air bubbles everywhere coming up from under the flooring. The muffled sounds of water moving with the air going to the surface. Inside the house there was a current even though no doors or windows were open. Furniture started to float and fall over, the splash of large pieces of furniture filled the air. The current was moving furniture around the house which seemed so surreal and was becoming dangerous.
Bella and Ginger was sleeping in our laundry room so I opened that door to see how they were doing. Ginger was off her feet but holding her head high above the water. Bella was standing with a look of surprise on her face. I opened the door to our back patio and Bella ran out but quickly discovered the water got deep fast as she stepped off the door threshold. She went back inside.
I could see how fast the water was rising so I had a thought, there is a john boat leaning against the back of the garage that served as a large dog house, I need to get that boat up to the house so we can get in it to stay on top of the water. I got the boat upright and discovered there was no boat plug in it so Jennifer gave me a plastic bag to stuff into the hole. It worked. I bailed water out the best I could but soon figured out the boat was too wide to go through our gate. Jennifer helped me turn the boat sideways so we could get the boat out of our fence. Once we were on the drive way, the water was almost chest deep. I tied the boat to the fence and started to bail water out again. All during this time rain was falling at a record pace.
I went back into the house to get things to bring with us as we left the house. I grabbed my work backpack since it had my work laptop, badge and keys. I went to our bedroom and grabbed another backpack. I put anything I thought we might need in the next day or so. Just before I walked out of the bedroom for the last time I picked up four books that were next to my bed and stuffed them into the backpack. As I left the room, I looked back knowing this would be the last time I would see the bedroom in its normal state.
I got our belongings, what little there was of them to the boat. Jennifer helped me pick up Bella and get her into the boat. Jennifer had put Ginger on a small table that helped keep her out of the water. I went over to get Ginger but did not see her anywhere. I walked into the house to help Allison get the cats out, I carried the carry cage with Madeline in it and put her into the boat. Jennifer had a pillow case with Jasper and Allison had another pillow case with Vlad in it. I walked back in the house for one last time and I saw Ginger floating just under the water surface going into the kitchen. I gently pushed her body back out the back door where she disappeared deeper under water.
At the boat we helped Allison in, handed her the cats, then I helped Jennifer into the boat. Our neighbor shows up with the Jet Ski so we tied the john boat to the back of the Jet Ski. Between the fast moving current and the Jet Ski not running properly the boat barely moved in the pouring rain, but we made to near the house. We untied the boat from the Jet Ski and pushed the boat the rest of the way.
Jennifer and Allison got out at the house and we took our belongings inside. Bella would not get out of the boat so my neighbor and I pushed the boat back into the neighborhood to rescue more people. Bella was along for the ride. With the Jet Ski not working properly and no paddles we had a challenging time getting through the neighborhood. I had a large stick that I used to push off the bottom and Mike had a fence board he used as a paddle. We were able to rescue about 12 people before I became too exhausted to go any further. One of the rescues we were helping an elderly couple into the boat in about 5 feet deep water. We got the lady in the boat but when we were trying to get the man, he was really heavy. He was not a big man but he seemed unusually heavy. The wife finally said, I bet his false leg is full of water and that is why he is heavy. That was not something I would have not thought of but in situations like this we learn.
After we got another family to safety, the younger guys took over the rescue efforts while I went to the house where Jennifer and Allison was. Everything was so over whelming to me and it took me a while to process what had happened. I looked through our back packs which were soaked through and through from the heavy rain while in the boat, I started to pull stuff out to dry. When I pulled the four books I had put in from my bedside I noticed something odd, three of the four books were swelled from being wet but there was one book that was perfectly dry, it was the Bible. I showed this to Jennifer and she could not believe it either. We both looked over that Bible closely and there was absolutely no evidence that it had ever been wet. Jennifer and I both knew that God was in control and we had nothing to worry about.
Three weeks later, we still work through all the stuff we lost that night, I think of that Bible and am amazed how He took care of us in the most adverse conditions. We have no worries.