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Hornick residents waiting for the chance to return home

SLOAN, Iowa (KTIV) – For more than 200 residents of the city of Hornick, there is just one question on their minds Friday night: when can we go home?

The community remains evacuated as water from the West Fork ditch levee seeped into their town overnight.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Mayor Scott Mitchell made the difficult decision of declaring a state of emergency and forcing the mandatory evacuation of Hornick. Within four hours, the residents were safe from danger.

Hornick is a virtual ghost town Friday, with no residents and no power, as officials from MidAmerican Energy shut down power to homes and businesses Thursday.

For residents returning to their homes won’t happen overnight. Crews spent the later part of the night Thursday building a dirt berm on the north side of town to divert water.

Mitchell said his own home has between 4-5 feet of water in the basement.

“All of the city people and volunteers left about 9:30 p.m. (Thursday) night,” he said. “All of the efforts were futile. Anywhere in town, we could have no water to over 2 feet,” said Mitchell.

On Friday, Mitchell and other city officials held a town hall meeting for impacted residents in Sloan. Mitchell said he was impressed with the demeanor and patience of his community.

“They were asking very informal questions,” he said. “But our meeting tonight they were able to get a little bit of information to be able to give them some direction in the future.”

One of those who will need direction is Mitchell’s own daughter Becca. She said Thursday was a scary time in her life as she thought it could have been the last moments she spent in the only home she knows.

But the situation to proving to be a valuable teaching lesson for her: always have a plan of action.

“Always make sure you have a backup plan just in case,” she said. “Because this sort of came out of nowhere for us. So always make sure you have a plan to go somewhere.”

For Mitchell, as his community bands together during a trying time, he has a simple message for them and the Siouxland area.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped us out,” he said.

Blake Branch

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