Rains unlike Thurston County has seen in decades struck the area on Sunday night and Monday, leaving a state of emergency in its considerable wake.
More than 2.5 inches of rain fell on Sunday night, and that was followed by 6.5 inches in Pender for a total of nine, and all within 12 hours, and with higher anecdotal totals reported. The Logan Creek, commonly referred to as “the dredge,” crested unofficially at 21.9 feet at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The creek overflowed its banks in numerous rural areas, and the water level got within four inches of the steel bridge on the east side of Pender.
Thurston County Emergency Management Director Tom Perez said all of the communities in Thurston County were hit hard by the rains, but none as much as Pender.
“Just about every town had problems with streets flooding. Walthill had a lot of flooding within the town, too,” Perez said.
The Missouri River on the east side of the county was expected to rise as much as three feet mid-week as rain from the north works its way to the area, Perez said.
The gates to the dike in Pender were shut for the first time in its more than decade-long existence, and volunteers numbering around 75 worked diligently to prep the gates for a rush of water that, fortunately, never materialized. Pender village officials declared a state of emergency on Monday evening, and the county followed that up on Tuesday morning.
A helicopter flew overhead on Tuesday afternoon as it was said that Governor Pete Ricketts was personally viewing the damage from above, and it is expected that the county will be declared a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Perez heaped praise on Pender’s response, from its leadership to its volunteers.
“Pender kind of took care of themselves with this,” Perez said. “Hat’s off to everybody.”
Document damage and provide to village
Due to immense flooding event in Pender and the region, village board chairman Bill Newton encourages all property owners who have been impacted by flood damage to maintain as much documentation as possible via photographs and receipts. This practice can aid in insurance claims, but also with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
There is a high probability that all of Thurston County will be declared a FEMA disaster area due to the heavy rains. If you have suffered damage, notify the Pender Village Clerk at 402-385-3232 to be put on a list and more information on what to do with documentation will be provided at a later date.
In addition, any of the many volunteers who helped with sandbags late on Monday night into early Tuesday morning should also report their names and the hours worked to the village clerk.
The village also asks that motorists stay off of roads and streets as much as possible to allow fire and rescue and utility workers the ability to move about the area in a safer manner.
All cooperation on these items is greatly appreciated.