COUNCIL BLUFFS — Glen and Becky Cummings have not lived at their Lakewood Villa Street home at Lake Manawa since Aug. 22.
Glen was able to fight off water rising into his split-level home that abuts the south canal on the lake. He said he had four pumps evacuating water from behind a 4-foot-tall barrier protecting his first-floor walkout.
Then the storm came.
The Aug. 22 storm that dumped more than 5 inches of water across the area was too much for the Cummingses' fortifications to handle.
"I battled it the best I could, but the water table was so high, it just pushed the water up," Glen said. "It's the first battle I've lost in 60 years."
The Cummingses own a rental property in Omaha that they are calling home for the time being. So Glen said they are more fortunate than others affected by the flooding.
But their biggest concern is what happens if the water doesn't go down by winter.
The Cummingses are not alone at Lake Manawa in worrying about winter approaching.
Retired Col. Dave Rogers toured the lake Friday, visiting with homeowners along the way. Gov. Terry Branstad called Rogers back to active duty with the Iowa National Guard and asked him to determine what, if any, action can be taken to assist the residents surrounding Lake Manawa.
Rogers is no stranger to finding flooding solutions. He was tasked with finding a solution to lake level problems in Okoboji during the flooding in the summer of 1993.
Rogers visited the home of John and Sue Walsh on Friday afternoon. The Walshes still live at their home on the canal, but continue to fight water in the lower level of their home. They are down to two rooms that are usable.
State Rep. Mark Brandenburg, who represents District 100, which encompasses Lake Manawa, accompanied Rogers on the tour. "There are a lot of issues," Brandenburg said, "and a solution is not real simple."
But Rogers said one will be coming quickly. He said he is looking at two things: getting the water down quickly and then finding a solution to keep it from rising again.
The first part is crucial. The second part might take longer.
Getting the water down could involve a number of options, Rogers said. While he did not want to discuss specifics Friday, he said siphoning or pumping would be considered.
Rogers is wasting no time. "I am going to have a preliminary report to the governor on Monday," he said.