Woman forced to flee home in a kayak due to rapid rising waters

MCKENZIE, N.D. - The early stages of the cleanup process are under-way for some families in McKenzie County after flood waters overtook their homes just five days prior.

On Sunday, Anita Johnson climbed out of a window of her home and kayaked to the nearest road because the water was rising at a rapid pace.

"It came in and filled this up fast, within I mean, I'm talking 20 minutes, and we were under water; three feet of water," said Johnson

They dug a hole in the dike surrounding their home in order to assess the damage. The deck moved across their yard, most of their furniture and appliances are a loss, walls will be torn down, and everything needs to be sanitized.

"A lot of emotions, try pretty hard just to try to keep it together. It's all got to go. I mean, it's just all got to go. We filled up two dumpsters today,” explained Johnson.

Their irreplaceable items were all in a safe that is fire-proof, but not water-proof.

"Graduation certificates, birth certificates, savings bonds, marriage license, all this stuff. My dad passed away 9 years ago, and his sports scrapbooks were in there," said Johnson.

They're hoping that most of their sentimental items will be restored.

"A neighbor took my wedding dress, it was in a sealed box. They took that to Williston, and they're hoping they can get that cleaned and sealed back up again," said Johnson.

As they walk around on the soggy carpet and assess the damages, they are not alone.

Wendy Johnson, a family friends said, "I worked until noon today, and I went home and changed, and have been here ever since. I know other people here have been here since this morning."

They say losses are huge, but they are nothing compared to the support and love they are surrounded by.

The Johnsons are staying with a neighbor for the time being, and want to rent a temporary house soon, because like many others, they will not be able to go back home for several months.