On June 7, 2008 storms were barreling through The Valley causing the disaster that is deemed the Hundred Year Flood.
It is the only flood of it’s magnitude on record for the area and those who were here to experience it say it is an event they won’t soon forget.
On the ten year anniversary, residents are thankful that their cities and towns have made a recovery and that they lived to share their experience.
“We ended up getting a call at like six o’clock in the morning for a car in the water and that is where it all started,” Captain James Jason Kane with the Terre Haute Fire Department was one of the many first responders fighting high flood waters to bring hundreds of families to safe ground.
“We are trying to locate the car and we found it. It was three quarters of the way up the off ramp, up to his doors in water,” says Captain Kane.
Massive amounts of water covered the valley making streets and fields look like lakes.
“It was not just an issue for the city, but it was county wide flooding everywhere. In the north end of town, in the south end of town,” says Captain Kane.
It is called the Hundred Year Flood, but our Chief Meteorologist, Jesse Walker explains it doesn’t happen every one hundred years. But rather that there is only a 1/100 chance that it could happen.
“Some areas picked up over a foot of rain from that Friday to that Saturday, huge amounts of water,” says Jesse Walker.
The stars aligned for the unlikely disaster to hit causing some neighborhoods to be completely consumed by water.
“If you look at June third through the seventh we got almost 14 inches of rain. No where to go, the ground was already saturated, and it led to the massive flooding across the area,” says Walker.
On that day there were more boats on the roads than there were cars. Residents were climbing on the highest ground they could find awaiting safety.
“The hardest hit was the south side of Vigo County, south side of Terre Haute, but it impacted our entire viewing area,” says Walker.
“We were picking people off roofs. If you can picture Katrina, it was something like that in some of the neighborhoods up around town. No one had seen anything like this,” says Captain Kane.
Residents say that the day of the 2008 flood often crosses their minds whether it is on the anniversary or just a day with heavy rain.
If there is a silver lining to an event like this, it is that organizations from all over the state came together at our time of need to make sure everyone was safe and accounted for.
Jesse Walker explained that with the small likelihood that an event like this ever happens, it is truly a once and a life time experience and it is unlikely that anyone alive today will experience another flood like that in their lifetime.