LaDonna Myers and Marsha Poole's precarious evacuation journeys from their flooded homes on King Lake in western Douglas County have been via canoe, airboat, auto, heavy-duty military vehicles and on Saturday, high-rail vehicles provided by Union Pacific Railroad, which traveled along U.P. tracks.

They were transported from a shelter in Valley to one at Elkhorn Middle School. Other evacuees were taken by the rail vehicles from Waterloo. The transports were coordinated through Douglas County's Unified Command.

Others at the shelter, including Brandi Hampton-Houser and her aunt, Terri Nelson, both of Fremont, arrived by other means. The two drove to Omaha on Friday for their child care jobs and weren't able to return to Fremont because of closed roads. 

About 30 to 35 people were at the shelter Saturday night, an American Red Cross official said. Red Cross volunteers were helping the evacuees and taking in donations of food, water and other supplies.

Myers and Poole, after their rail adventure, arrived at the middle school about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Poole brought her dog with her, a German shepherd-blue heeler mix. Myers was accompanied by her boyfriend, Gary Lichtenberg, and their two dogs, a beagle and a Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix.

The Nebraska Humane Society provided kennels and food for pets that were evacuated from the flooding with their owners.

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Myers and Lichtenberg left their home Friday evening as flood waters began flowing into the King Lake area. They took their vehicles to higher ground and rode in a canoe with their dogs to Life House, a ministry housed at a higher elevation.

"We thought that we'd be safe there," Myers said. But by about 2 a.m., the waters rose higher. And they, with others, were rescued by airboat and dropped off on a highway, where the military vehicle picked them up and took them to Valley. There, they spent the night at a shelter and were fed and cared for. 

On Saturday, they were off again, to Elkhorn via the high-rail vehicle, which was able to get through areas where roads were closed.

Poole said she almost had a helicopter ride from her home, but trees in the area prevented that rescue. Instead she traveled by airboat, van, military vehicle and high-rail vehicle.

Rescuers had to break down her door after it became jammed because of the flooding. She had waited hours for help, in frigid, ankle deep water in her house.

"My feet were burning they were so cold," Poole said.

She and Meyers said they thought they could stay in or near their homes despite the flooding. There had been floods and evacuations at the lake community before. But this time, it was much worse.

As they were evacuated, they saw in dismay all the flooding. "All you just see is river all around you," Poole said.

Hampton-Houser and Nelson, the Fremont residents, said they never imagined they would be spending the night in a school gym. But they bought an air mattress and set it up near rows of cots.

Hampton-Houser's house had water in the basement and outside in the street, she said. Residents had evacuated the area, but the evacuation wasn't mandatory, she said. Her husband and disabled father remained at home, and neighbors were helping each other, she said.

Nelson's sisters, who are also her roommates, chose to evacuate, she said.