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Gadsden County residents hope for permanent solution to flooding

Posted at 5:42 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 17:59:35-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — People are cleaning up their homes and driveways after flooding shut down major roads across Gadsden County.

While some are used to the flooding, others say they're tired of the financial impacts and the damages that extend further than homes.

Downed trees and rainwater washed out Cane Creek Road. Emergency management hopes lawmakers step in to help, but homeowners are looking to local leadership.

"You couldn't even see the street," said Helen Jackson, who lives in Gadsden County. "It was like a river. Like you can fish in a lake."

At Jackson's home on Flagler Street, water came up to the doorway.

Jackson says she's been here for more than two decades and the issues are always the same: No drainage on her street and she's sick of coughing up cash every time.

"It's been costing me," said Jackson. "I've lost two cars now."

But after Sally, Jackson won't be the only one paying.

"They're not doing anything," said Jackson. "They're telling people they're doing something. They did try to put a drain line up here but evidently it's not working."

Emergency Management Director Shawn Wood says it could've been a lot worse than the destroyed road at Cane Creek and shutdowns at Aspalaga Road, Rod Shaw Road, A&N Road, and Chattahoochee Road.

"We've done a lot of flood mitigation efforts through the years fixing roads so we don't have near the flooding issues we had years ago," Wood said. "But with a storm where you get that many inches of rain, you flood places that don't normally flood."

Now it's up to the roads division.

"They're working hard to figure out exactly damage there is," said Wood. "A lot of times you can't figure it out until the water recedes. They're seeing today what it's going to take to fix it, and working to get that total amount of money it's going to take to fix the problem."

Still more trouble to come, too. Wood says they're waiting for more water and expecting even further flooding.

"It won't be as this was but you'll start seeing rivers and creeks of that nature get higher," Wood said. "We'll see what this storm off the Yucatan is. Is that going to bring more rain to us? We're watching that now."

In the meantime, there is cooperation through cooperatives.

Talquin Electric linemen are on the way to help those impacted by Sally in Pensacola and to help restore power for the Escambia River.

Wood says, as far as Gadsden goes, he has faith lawmakers will help.

Governor Ron DeSantis's office and Rick Scott reached out to offer aid once they figure out how much they'll need.