Flooding in St. Charles Affects FHN Students and Faculty


By Claire Boenitz

An unusually warm winter has brought abnormal amounts of rain to the St. Louis area, which, at the end of December, led to flooding in many areas. The Missouri River swelled to just five feet lower than its record height on Dec. 27; however, the more devastating floods were beyond FHSD’s borders. Over break, students and faculty of FHSD faced flooded roads, yards, and even basements, and certain school activities were cancelled because of the weather.

“When we were in northern Illinois visiting with family, we started to see all the posts on Facebook about flooding,” English teacher Jani Wilkens said. “We asked our neighbors who have a key to our house to go check it out because we had just remodeled a part of our basement. When he got to our basement, he found that the sump pump had failed to trigger properly, so we had flooding. It also triggered another area in the basement that has flooded, so we had to pull out all the new carpet we had just installed when we got home. 

Because of its location on high ground, FHN was used as a Red Cross shelter for victims of more severe flooding on Dec. 28. Volunteers provided people with shelter, food and medical help, as well as comfort kits and clean-up supplies for when the people returned to their homes. During this time period, activities taking place at FHN were cancelled.

“Because people were staying in our school as a shelter, [mock trial] was unable to meet,” sophomore Caitlind Walker said. “North is large enough to house people and it’s heated, so that is basically all the people would have needed. And since school was out, no students were here, so it was logical.”

The floods caused difficulty with students and faculty who were traveling for the holidays, who were brought to a standstill by flooded highways surrounding the area. Roads were not the only problem, though – those with homes on lower ground faced flooded basements and yards. The worst of the flooding within FHSD’s borders did not take long to recede, as it was relatively mild when compared to other parts of the area. Nonetheless, some families in the district will be recovering from flooding for a longer time than others.

“It didn’t really impact me or my family, other than one cancelled swim practice,” senior Samm Heupel said. “My neighbor’s yard was flooding and draining like crazy, though. I’ve always known that flash flooding was possible, but I never really thought that it could happen to us, and happen so quickly. I was surprised by the amount of water produced.”