Travel Advisory lifted, West Lakes residents still recovering from flood

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) People who live in Noble County are still recovering from the devastating flooding that followed heavy rain last month.  A Travel Advisory Warning has been lifted from the West Lakes area but there is still a long way to go.

The Noble County Commissioners have lifted the advisory as of 9 a.m. Tuesday. Flood waters have receded to the point where the travel ban is no longer necessary. However, water still covers a portion of Waldron Lake Drive and authorities warn that motorists who don’t need to be there should stay off the road.

For several weeks the West Lakes community has been under water. Buzz Junk, who’s been coming to West Lakes for 40 years, said it’s the worst the area has seen in decades.

Junk showed us around his home a month ago, when the flooding began to reach its peak. Then, his house was surrounded by water, almost as if he was living on an island. He said in 19 days the water dropped 22 inches. But the damage more clear now than before.

“It’s not pretty,” he said. “It’s hard to take. That mold has already set in. It’s down all around here and in the carpets.”

Junk said he is one of the few families in his neighborhood that live there year-round. Now, with mold growing on the walls and the carpet, Junk and his wife are temporarily displaced.

The floor is saturated with water. Their furniture and other valuables are on cement blocks and water stains are inching up the walls. For several weeks they several others have been without sewage.

“I tried to think of all the right reasons to stay because I didn’t want to leave and I just couldn’t think of any,” said Junk. “And that was probably one of the hardest things I had to do.”

Junk said he and his wife are staying with family. He said there are more than a hundred other homes in similar situation, and although he’s got it bad, he knows others have it worse.

“We need some help,” he said. “Other lake chains get [help] and I don’t feel that we’re any different. We should be able to get some help somewhere… somehow.”

The American Red Cross is opened a temporary shelter for residents living in the flooded West Lakes chain and several people have stepped up to volunteer to help. Junk said he wants to get lawmakers involved to find a long term solution for this ongoing problem.

Junk said, if all goes well, he hopes to be back home by November.  But through it all, he’s grateful.

“You’ve got to be strong,” he said. “It’s trying not to live in your home and be displaced. But I’m glad we have family.”