100 homes damaged by Steinhatchee flooding

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
August 21, 2019

STEINHATCHEE, Fla. (WCTV) --The sheriff's office says a state of emergency will remain in effect until Saturday because of flooding in Taylor County. An overnight curfew was lifted on Tuesday.

Officials now estimate 100 homes are affected by flooding, as damage assessments continue. All damage information will be forwarded to the state, the sheriff's office says.

On Monday, the National Weather Service approximated about 30 inches of rainfall to have poured down on the town in just four days.

The water levels for many homeowners are still so high that residents have to wade through the water just to get to the front door.

And it is flooding that Janalea England says she has never seen before, “You know it was like woah this is coming up really quick.”

Brandon Highnote, was shocked, “Well it wasn’t bad at first and then it seemed like all of a sudden we had a rush of water come in all of a sudden.”

The rainwater destroyed much in its wake says Highnote, “By far the worst of course obviously it came in my house and this is the first time.”

His home, now has significant water damage, and the goal is to remove moisture and prevent mildew.

Highnote shares, “We’ve cut a pile of sheet rock out of the house, and have de humidifiers and a bunch of fans running everything we can to save and salvage what we can.”

And just a couple blocks away, the county and state have been pumping out water and building trenches.

Derek Snyder of Sea Hag Marina says he has seen it all, “I know it is Mother Nature but we just need there help to improve things.”

However Snyder says heavy rainfalls is no stranger to this small town, expressing that they have had other storms and floods within the last two years.

“Repair, rebuild and move on," England shares, "It’s sad but it is part of living on the coast.”

She along with Highnote are now living elsewhere, due to the damage.
Residents, like Highnote, say that the frustration many are facing is the poor drainage “Somebody needs to figure it where we can funnel some of this water it shouldn’t all come onto us I believe. And I feel like that’s the way it is it all rushes out of the woods straight to us and it is just too much for this little area.”

England says that the past five days have been confusing, a "mess" and she has felt like nothing is in order. She hopes, “To get my life back in order you know.”

And England, along with many more, are optimistic that they can move back into their homes, in the near future, water-free.

A local non-profit, Sowers of the Seed, is collecting and distributing supplies to flood victims. Items needed include dehumidifiers, cleaning supplies, fans, laundry soap, cleaning cloths, rubber gloves, and baby wipes. Sowers of the Seed may be contacted at 850-295-3787.

First Baptist Church of Steinhatchee is also collecting donations. You can find out how to donate money or resources by clicking here.

The Steinhatchee area saw 30 inches of rain in a four-day period this past weekend. A flood warning remains in effect for the Steinhatchee River.