Sioux City (ABC9 News) – 25 years after the devastating floods on Perry Creek, Sioux City officials look back to the tragedy that left hundreds homeless.

“When I saw fire trucks driving down Myrtle Street and it was going up to their back tires I knew we were in trouble; I knew there would be trouble. I knew there would be homes that would be damaged and homes that would be affected, said Mayor Bob Scott, Sioux City.

Mayor Bob Scott was only on the job for five months when the first round of flash floods swept through Sioux City. It was May 19, 1990 when severe rain forced the Perry Creek to swell over, sparking flash floods from 38th street down.

“It was just a terrible time for people out there,” said Scott. 

Three days later, residents were hit with a second round of flash floods as they worked to clean up from the first flood.

More than 500 homes, 80 businesses and three bridges were destroyed. The tragedy led to a $101 million project on Perry Creek, partially funded by federal disaster aid, it allowed for higher banks to be created and thousands of homes were removed from the flood plain.

The project, which wrapped up in 2007, also channelized the creek from the city’s north side into the Missouri River. An added benefit is a recreational trail along the creek for cyclists and runners.

“It took a long time to get the neighborhoods put back together. To get the houses fixed but some people lost everything and I don’t know if you can recover from that,” said Gary Brown, Director of Woodbury County Emergency Services.

Some may never fully recover from the incident, but residents can rest assured that a repeat of the 1990 floods won’t happen again.