KEARNEY — If you were looking for a dehumidifier Tuesday, you probably were out of luck.
Sump pumps, wet/dry vacuums and fans were in high demand as Kearneyites rushed to stores for the supplies to combat the water entering their homes.
“It was ridiculous,” Menard’s General Manager Caleb Maynard said over the phone Thursday. “We couldn’t keep the stuff on the shelves. It’s nice to have the products for these people, but we sold out and there’s not much we could do.”
Maynard said the store at 6411 First Ave. had to put in a rush order for some of the products and they had a shipment of fans come in Thursday. However, he said there seems to be a shortage of dehumidifiers across the Midwest.
Builders, 4600 Second Ave., Thursday afternoon got a shipment of 350 dehumidifiers, according to Division Manager Mikel Clark. The store also got 150 fans and other flood supplies including floor squeegees, sump pumps, bleach and other cleaning products.
The dehumidifiers currently at Builders range from $172.27 to $263.88, depending on the capacity.
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The day of the Kearney flood, Clark said Builders had a rain check list going for dehumidifiers with about 20 people on the list.
“We sold out what we had on Tuesday. Of course, nobody predicted this,” Clark said.
In his 14-year career at Builder’s Clark said he hadn’t experienced anything like the need for these supplies after the flood.
“We had the flooding in March. We sold a few things, but not like it has been (this week),” he said.
Maynard said he has heard stories this week of water in residents’ basements up to the floor joints and window wells filling to the brim with rainwater.
Items like window well covers and rocks in the bottom of the window well can help prevent water from coming in that way, he noted.
“It’s been so dry in Nebraska for so long that when people don’t put a window well cover on their window, dirt and leaves get in, when there should be rocks to allow for drainage,” Maynard described. “When (the bottom of the window well) is filled up with dirt and mud, it fills into the top of the window well and starts leaking in from the sides. In some cases, the glass shatters.”
While preventative measures like clean window wells and covers on top might have helped some issues, when it comes to flooding, there’s not much that could have been done, though, he noted.
For those who had six feet or more of water in their basements in south Kearney, there was no avoiding it.
Maynard said that Menards still had sand and bags on Thursday. But because the flooding happened so fast in Kearney, “there wasn’t enough time to sandbag.”
Clark said that at Builders they’re now selling cleaning supplies, trash cans and trash bags as people are working to clean up. He said the store is giving away free five-gallon buckets with the purchase of flood cleanup supplies.
After cleanup is finished, he then expects lots of do-it-yourself projects as Kearneyites work to make their houses as they were before. He offered a few pieces of advice, like waiting for spaces to dry and shutting off electricity before starting work.
“We’ve got experts up here if they want to come up and visit,” he said. “We’re trying to be here to help the community out.”