Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, July 15, 2002

Williams family had canoe taxi going day after the storm

By Lynda Jensen

Heavy flood waters sweeping through the area June 25 caused Bob and Sandy Williams to start a private taxi service ­ by canoe ­ at their country home for three days.

The canoe, normally used for camping, was pressed into service after the Williams family woke up to find standing water almost completely surrounding their house, located two miles west of the Howard Lake cemetery.

The Williams family slept through the storm that shook Waverly, Lake Ann, and the rest of Howard Lake. "We were never worried," Bob Williams commented.

The newly formed lake crossed their property; which extended about two miles across adjacent farmland, Sandy said.

It prevented the Williams family from reaching their jobs until Thursday. Bob works as a quality control officer at Tavis Metal in Rogers, and Sandy works as a para professional at Humphrey Elementary.

The Williams own four acres of land in the country, including a Frisbee golf business, complete with 18 holes of golf.

More than two of their four acres were submerged under five feet of water for three days, Sandy Williams said.

Their son, Alex, was named a taxi driver and ended up helping with approximately 11 canoe trips across fenced, flooded farmland.

She's squeamish about canoes herself, she added.

The water smelled like a really wet barn. "It was like rotting plants, or a swamp," she said.

The Williams lost about three inches of gravel on their driveway to the flooding, which is a half mile long.

Their house sustained only a damp basement, since it sits atop a hill.

All joking aside, the Williams family were one of about six houses that were inaccessible to the fire department and at serious risk in case of fire, Sandy said.

In fact, the fire department checked on the inundated countryside that morning, and determined that the water was too deep for its pumpers, she said. "We would have burned," she said.

Their property has not flooded in more than 11 years, she said.

"We've had rain, but not like this," she said.

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