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Flooded roads strand mom, 5 kids in rural Clay County home

Flooded roads strand mom, 5 kids in rural Clay County home

Flood waters stranded a Clay County mom and her five kids in their rural home with no heat or water for hours Wednesday and into Thursday until her daughter and another man were able to bring food, supplies and an electric heater.

Darcy Teepe said water began pouring into her basement Wednesday evening and it continued to rise Thursday.

“It just kept going,” she said.


Teepe and her family live in rural Clay County, about 10 minutes south of Royal. Roads to the house were flooded and impassable.

Rain pounded the area Wednesday and Thursday. In many places, the excess water had no place to drain because of snow and ice blocking its typical path, causing flooding issues in Spencer and throughout the county.

Teepe wasn’t able to leave her home until Friday when water levels had receded.


“We couldn’t get out to do anything,” Teepe said. “We tried to get out, but we live on gravel over by Royal Beef and the one gravel road is completely under water. You can’t get through it and I’m sure it’s washed away. And then our other gravel road, it washed out.”

To stay warm, Teepe and her young children blocked off and gathered inside a room in the house Wednesday and part of Thursday.

“We didn’t have anything,” she said. “Our water had to be shut off. We didn’t have heat.”

  • A flooded field. (Photo provided.)
  • A flooded field. (Photo provided.)
  • A flooded field. (Photo provided.)
  • 460th Street in rural Clay County. (Photo provided.)
  • 460th Street in rural Clay County. (Photo provided.)
  • home in rural area with snow and standing water

Inside Teepe’s house, the basement was completely full of water. They couldn’t get into the basement from the door on the outside of the house.


“It was coming up the steps outside,” Teepe said.

Her oldest daughter, Saige Rinken, who lives in Royal, and Josh Smires reached the house at 2 p.m. Thursday.

“They reached out to us to make sure we were OK,” Teepe said. “It was the house that they grew up in, so she knows that when it snows and stuff that we get stuck out there. But we’ve never had flooding like this.”

“I told her not to come, but…,” Teepe said.

She said she was thankful they did come to help.


“I don’t know what we would have done,” Teepe said. “It meant a lot that they were the ones that reached out.”

By the time Rinken and Smires arrived, the water from the basement was starting to get floors wet on the main level.

“We went down there and put in sump pumps after Saige and Josh brought us sump pumps,” Teepe said. “There was water gushing out of the top of my water heater like a waterfall. Iowa Lakes had to come out and shut the water off, but there’s a water break somewhere, too, with all the flooding.”

On Friday, Teepe said she was finally able to leave on 470th Street.

Teepe said they’ll have to replace their heater and water heater in the basement.

They don’t have flood insurance, she said.

Feature photo: Darcy Teepe and her five kids couldn’t leave their rural Clay County home because of flood waters over roads. (Photo provided.)


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