Thunderstorms bring flash flooding, rising creeks


Submitted One of Wold’s Strawberry fields is overtaken by water and mud during June 9’s thunderstorms. The storms brought torrential rain, wind and hail to the area creating havoc.
By : 
Jordan Gerard

Mother Nature must have heard about the deliciousness of Wold’s Strawberries and wanted a taste of them. She sent hail that chopped the berry crop by 75 percent.

Well here’s hoping she’s satisfied, as well as the berry pickers who were able to pick the last of the berries unscathed, or barely scathed by heavy thunderstorms, rain, wind and hail on Saturday, June 9.

Suzanne Wold said of the five strawberry varieties they grow, two varieties are salvageable. One of their strawberry fields was overrun by rain and mud. Amish are helping out by digging the plants out of the mud.

“It just looks like a cow herd went through there and trampled everything,” she said. “We got about six and a half inches of rain. It hailed for about 10 minutes, but it felt like an hour.”

Her father Wayne Wold said they’ve never had hail damage this bad in 45 years. He could almost draw a line as to where the hail hit.

“Hail is funny. Some patches didn’t get it and some did,” he said. “There’s a lot of devastation to the south.”

Despite the storm’s rage against the strawberries, the ones hardly hit are still edible, as long as there’s no mold on them. 

Putting a brave face on and enjoying what was left, they allowed berry-lovers to come and pick berries, at their own risk. There will be no pre-picked berries this year.

“Some of the berries have a little brown spot on them from the hail, which means it’s healing and should be just fine to eat,” Wayne said. “We don’t want to take the risk of someone getting a bad berry from a pre-picked batch.”

And the berry pickers have been coming in a steady stream just to get those Wold Strawberries. Wayne said he’s grateful for a good response to it.

Does it hurt financially?

“It smarts,” Wayne said. “You just try to meet production costs for this year.”

This isn’t the first time Wold’s has experienced loss at the hands of Mother Nature. Berry loss can happen in freezes, frosts or droughts. Wayne recalled the drought of 1988.

“You can control it with irrigation though,” he said. “You just can’t do anything about hail.”

Wold’s also has just family helping out this year, instead of employees working too.

Other crops like surrounding cornfields were also hit by hail, their leaves shredded to pieces.

However, Wold’s raspberries came out unscathed and should be ready for picking about July 1.

Hidden Bluffs Resort

Also affected by flash flooding was Hidden Bluffs Resort on County Road 19. The campground evacuated campers on Saturday evening, after a large amount of rain fell in the afternoon hours leading to the swelled Riceford Creek that infiltrated the campground.

Water rose quickly, but some campers were able to pack up and head home safely while others had to leave their belongings behind.

Evacuations were done swiftly and quickly. No injuries were reported. 

Those displaced by the flash flooding spent the night at the Fest Building, where emergency shelter was set up and waiting for them. 

The resort is closed until further notice, which allows the campground to clean up before allowing campers back in.

The storage lot where many campers were kept remained untouched, however, the resort now has items recovered from the flood. The resort posted a picture of the found items on their Facebook page and requests those wishing to claim items call the resort at 866-936-2267. Their Facebook page is www.facebook.com/HiddenBluffs/.

Hidden Bluffs Resort did not return calls to comment on the status of the campground, however they will post on Facebook when the resort is open for reservations again.

Riceford area

Rural Riceford between Mabel and Spring Grove on Houston County Road 8 was also affected by rising creek levels. Much of the vegetation was flattened down by viciously running water.

The creek rose quickly into Sportsman’s Park where it reached well above the picnic shelter leaving mud and debris all over.

County Road 8 wasn’t completely washed out, but did take on damage that created deep ruts in the ditches. The rain also washed down mud in two places along the hillside, exposing the limestone underneath.