Forecasters predicted last week that we were in store for several days of heavy rain and the National Weather Service warned everyone about flash flooding.
On Friday morning the rain began flooding the streets, overflowing the creek banks and the low lying areas were turned into lakes. Residents were caught of off guard and rescue units were dispatched to several different areas.
“We originally started out to help block the city streets that were flooding early Friday morning,” said Assistant EMA Director Don Stevens, “but around 8:00 a.m. we started getting calls about people being trapped in their homes.”
“WE had 17 firemen and rescue members to show up at the fire station on July 3rd,” said Stevens. “I split them up and sent them in different directions on Highway 10 South, New Harmony Road, South Long Creek Road and the Galen Road to locate these people and get them to safety.”
“In the 2010 flood, we didn’t have swift water training, and we have really been working on that since then,” said Stevens, who is also the Macon County Rescue Square Director and a Captain with the Lafayette Fire Department. “We had four that completed the class last year and I sent one of them out with each crew.”
“Todd Waggoner was in charge on the South Long Creek Road, Tom Dallas on Galen Road, Michael Bransford on New Harmony Road and Tracy Hawkins on Highway 10 south,” added Stevens.
Stevens said most of the damage on Friday was in the middle and the west side of Macon County. “I had Randall Bray watching the creeks in Red Boilng Springs and The Palace,” noted Stevens.
“We had 5.2 inches of rain reported in a five square mile radius in the west side of the county on Wednesday night, July 1,” said Regina Flippin, with the Macon County Highway Department, “and that damaged alot of roads over there. Then Thursday night we had 5.1 inches of rain in the east side of the county and on Friday morning, July 3rd, we had 6 plus inches of rain in a three hour time span. Alot of the tiles and bridges were stopped up.”
Regina explained, “When the 2008 tornado came thru and of course the 2010 flood, alot of trees got knocked down in the creeks and there wasn’t a program to get those cleaned out. So now what is happening is those trees are still there and everytime we get large amounts of rain it washes down the creeks and the debris is clogging up the tiles and the water doesn’t have anywhere to go and that’s causing road damage.”
“As of right now we have 111 roads all over the county that have damage,” noted Flippin. “Some of the damage is extensive. We have already cleaned up 21 bridges and we are still finding bridges that are damaged or gone.”
“We have been in touch with Macon County EMA Director Keith Scruggs and Assistant Director Don Stevens about the process we have to go thru to try and get help from the government. If we don’t receive any financial help, then we will just have to prioritize. Our main goal right now is to get everybody back home, and we will go back and reassess everything later.”
“We just ask that everyone please be patient with us. With 600 plus miles of roads in the county, it takes a while for us to get them repaired,” added Flippin.
The American Red Cross and the Donoho Hotel in Red Boiling Springs worked out a special deal to house some of the flood victims for several days while other accomodations are being looked into.
I spoke with Roger L. and Judy A. Jackson at the Donoho Hotel on Saturday afternoon, and they were victims of the Galen Road area. Judy had to be rescued from her home and she would like to thank the Macon County Rescue Squad, the Lafayette Fire Department and especially Tom Dallas who managed to get a life jacket on her, get her in the boat and carry her to safety.
Don Anders, Jr. and Julie King were also staying at the Donoho and they were rescued from their mobile home on Highway 10 South. “The Rescue Squad saved us and son Scogtty from the rushing water and they also carried our dogs, Bob & Gibson to safety. We certainly appreciated their help.”
The Disaster Animal Response Team, from Lebanon, came to Macon County on Monday morning to help the animal control officers find places to put the animals that were found during the storm.
Don Stevens stated, “I want to thank everybody that came out and helped. I am especially glad that nobody got hurt.”