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Polk County man says granddaughter saved them from 'wall of water, mud, rocks and trees'

After a weekend of deadly storms, cleanup efforts continue in Polk County. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

After a weekend of deadly storms, cleanup efforts continue in Polk County.

Crews are working around the clock trying to patch up the mess left by flooding and mudslides.

Joe Foster, of Polk County, said he was leaving a restaurant with his granddaughter Friday night when they ran into some flooding on U.S. 176.

"Being the person I am, I just put the truck on 4-wheel-drive because it didn't look like it was much to it," Foster said.

Foster said before he attempted to drive over it, his granddaughter told him to stop. Thankfully, he listened to her.

"All of a sudden, we heard a freight train coming off the mountain and less than nine feet in front of us was a wall of water, mud, rocks and trees," Foster said.

Foster said if his granddaughter hadn't told him to stop, things could have turned out a lot worse.

"If it would have hit my truck, there wouldn't have been no hope for us," said Foster.

Though Foster may have dodged a close call, many are now left picking up the pieces.

"Trees are all in the backyard, and the mud is like 8 inches deep," Mona Kimble, of Polk County, said.

Helping people like Kimble is why the Red Cross has joined the relief effort.

They are going door to door talking to people who were impacted.

"The purpose of that is so we can assess what the need is," Mountain Area Red Cross executive director Alli Trask said.

Throughout the week, the Red Cross will be providing meals and cleanup kits to anyone who needs them.

"Especially with mudslides, a lot of times with flood and water damage, you run the risk of mold and things like that after," Trask said. "So, we provide cleanup kits so people can go ahead and get a handle on that."

On Monday, St. Luke's Hospital donated 100 meals.

"With all the extra work you got, if you have to cook, too, it just makes it that much more trying," said Kimble, who stopped by to grab a meal.

Kimble said she's thankful for the help.

"My husband is going to be so glad," Kimble said. "He won't get a sandwich or a salad, he'll get a real hot meal."

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