NEWAYGO, Mich. (WOOD) – Authorities in Newaygo County say recent flooding and strong winds caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage.
More than 400 homes were damaged when the Muskegon River reached historic levels. The Newaygo County Emergency Operations Center estimated there was about $4 million in damage to private property.
Joe and Brenda Payton bought a home along the Muskegon River in Newaygo County in 2004.
“In the summer time, it is beautiful. I thought it was a piece of heaven. Until it reared its’ ugly head.”
When they bought the home, it had not flooded since 1986. However, their home has now flooded three of the past four years.
“In 2011, flooded. Each time it has gotten worse. Then in 2013 and then again this year. All in April,” said Brenda. “We did everything we could.”
But their everything wasn’t enough to combat the 20 inches of water that filled their home. They were expecting between five and eight inches, like they got last year.
“You can only carry so much out of the home. We spent probably 14, 16 hours Palm Sunday, raising things and getting ready and then in the night we left. My husband about midnight come in and said we have to get out of here that water is coming up.”
She said the water started to fill the home the next day.
“It’s not worth all this. I’m sorry…cause we just get it back together and here it comes again.”
Brenda said after the water filtered out, about two inches of mud was left behind.
“Well in one way because we have done it over and over and over. It’s not easier. I don’t know. With it being this bad, it’s hard. It’s sad. But it’s just a bunch of stuff and we are still here.”
After last year’s flood, the Paytons didn’t put carpet back in the home, thinking it might help if their home flooded again. But this year’s flood also ruined their laminate flooring and got into the walls, even though they lined the walls part way up with plastic. She says they are in the home working every single day.
“We get up at the motor home, thank Jesus for the motor home. We have coffee, we listen to the radio, get around and then we come in here and start cleaning.”
Just like the flag in front of her house reads, Brenda is trying to count her blessings.
“It’s not a good way to scale down. But I’m just counting my blessings.”
The Paytons are running four giant dehumidifiers and fans throughout their home 24/7. They say it could be as long as winter before the home is back to normal.