Flooding Assistance for Area Residents

It doesn't take a hurricane to cause flooding problems for some residents in our area, especially if you live near a river prone to overrun its banks.

Emergency management leaders are learning about better ways to help residents cope with the ebb and flow. The scene of flooded roads and back yards are almost routine for riverfront residents. That's why The National Weather Service hosted a River Constituency meeting in Suwannee County Thursday morning.

Area county emergency managers learned how to better assist residents along the Suwannee River and Santa Fe River Basin areas during floods.

Joel Lanier, Senior Service Hydrologist for the National Weather Service said, "It's good for the folks that work the floods to get together and talk with each other and see what the latest technology is and what the latest developments are."

The meeting may have come a bit late for Thomas Clark who's been living on the Suwannee River in Lafayette County since 1989. He says he's been through too many floods and it's time to move.

Thomas Clark said, "My son is going to move in this house and he'll have to contend with it. We're moving to Dowling Park. My wife doesn't like the stairs and she doesn't like the floods."

In 1948, the river rose about 54 feet above sea level. In 1973, 49 feet. Many residents still vividly remember the later floods of the 80's and 90's."

"In '91, it got within a couple of feet of the ceiling of the first floor, which is elevated ten feet above the ground. We went in and out with my boat. In '98 the water got up to about two feet over my head," said Thomas.

For those residents that past floods haven't already scared away, officials say they are armed with the education and the dedication to get them through it. NWS also held a river constituency meeting Wednesday in Tallahassee.