Phoebe Wilson is only 3 years old, but she knew that the water in her basement bedroom was a bad thing.

Phoebe Wilson is only 3 years old, but she knew that the water in her basement bedroom was a bad thing.

“It rained in my room, there's water in my room,” Phoebe said as she stood next to her mother, Arrie Wilson, and father, William Wilson, in their home at 1414 W. Olive St.

“When she was sleeping, she was saying 'water, water,' so we knew she was dreaming about the water in her room,” Arrie Wilson said. “She knew she had lost a lot of her stuffed animals.”

Phoebe's grandmother, Wendy Wolf, said a young friend, Autumn Achey, who was a victim of the 2011 Joplin tornado, and others, brought Phoebe some stuffed animals to comfort her.

But finding comfort for a young family now facing thousands in unexpected repair bills to a home they only purchased about a year ago, will be more difficult.

The Wilsons had only a few months ago refurbished their basement and moved their bedroom and their daughter's bedroom down stairs.

Then, Saturday's downburst brought heavy rainfall to the area, so much rain that the city's stormwater system was overwhelmed, forcing water onto streets and into yards, and in some cases, into basements.
The Carthage Water and Electric Plant on River Street reported 4.28 inches of rainfall on Saturday, more than doubling the rainfall so far in June at the plant to 7.14 inches.

Saturday's storm boosted Carthage's total so far in 2013 to 34.41 inches, well above normal for this time of year of about 21 inches.

A number of streets were closed around Carthage as the rain water made its way through the city's network of storm water ditches. Ditches overflowed on Baker Street and in other places, and water accumulated in the railroad underpass on Central Avenue, forcing officials to close that street as well.

The Wilsons and their neighbors, Christy Goettel and her son, Trevor Weess, who live at 1410 W. Olive St., said water rose rapidly in their yards as the storm drain three houses to the east filled with water and backed up in their yards.

Weess said he had to move his Jeep Cherokee SUV from their back yard because water was up to the bottom of the door and starting to get into the floor of the vehicle.

Weess also warned the Wilsons to move their vehicles, but there was nothing William Wilson could do about the project car, tools and other equipment in a workroom he's built in a shed behind his home.
William Wilson gave a timeline of how the flooding unfolded at his home.

“At 3:10, Trevor came and told us we needed to move our car or it might float away,” he said. “I went out at 3:15 p.m. to move our car from behind the house and the water was almost up to the door. At 3:25, we noticed the floor in the basement was starting to get wet. At 3:25, I checked my shop and there was at least 6 inches of water in there. By 3:50, the sump pump, which pumps 5,400 gallons per hour, was overwhelmed and by 4:10 the water was up to the electrical outlets in the basement so I turned off the electricity in the house. By about 9 p.m., when the water finally stopped rising, it was about 18 inches high in our bedroom.”

Goettel said the bedroom for her 25-year-old autistic daughter was located in the basement of their home, and it was flooded, ruining the bed and many of her belongings.

Wilson said a cleaning company had estimated it would cost $3,500 to dry out their basement and they had to do it quickly before mold started growing in the walls.

That is a tough pill to swallow for the family. William Wilson lost his job as an service technicial at a local auto dealership on May 30 and both William and Arrie are full time students, her at Missouri Southern State University and him at Crowder College.

“We have to do it, we have no choice,” Arrie Wilson said on Monday. “Everything downstairs is ruined, we'll rip the carpet out this afternoon.”

William Wilson said the water caused a crack in their home's foundation that was letting in even more water in the light rain that fell on Monday, meaning the family will have to dig up their foundation and make repairs to it as well, potentially costing thousands of dollars more.

None of the damage is covered by their home owner's insurance either because it was caused by flooding. Their insurance agent told the couple they were not eligible to purchase flood insurance because their home is not located in a recognized flood plain. Arrie Wilson said the agent told them if they did buy flood insurance it would cost as much or more than their homeowners policy costs.

However, the National Flood Insurance Program website,, says homeowners who live outside recognized flood plains can buy flood insurance, sometimes at a reduced cost.

The Wilsons have moved everything they could salvage to main floor rooms, stacking items in their front room and moving back into their old bedroom. In the meantime, a dehumidifier runs in the basement on Monday drawing moisture from the air and the couple prepared to tear out their soaked carpet.

“We've contacted ServePro to see if they can salvage our basement and prevent the mold from setting in,” William Wilson said. “I need to find a backhoe and dig around the foundation to see exactly how bad the damage is. Hopefully I'll find a job soon or some kind of assistance so we can pay for all of this.”