T'ville remembers historic flash flood - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

T'ville remembers historic flash flood


One south Georgia town is preparing for potential flooding by remembering one historic downpour.

More than seven inches of rain fell in just an hour and a half last June in the city of Thomasville.

And while the same is not expected this week, city officials and homeowners say you can never be too sure.


That's what John Vanderhoff and many of his Margaret Street neighbors were after the freak rainstorm last June.

"These homes on this street are relatively new and they were all three feet under water and that was it. The water just sat there," said Vanderhoff.

Public works crews were out and about in Thomasville Wednesday making sure there is not a repeat of last year.

"Our public works department divides the city up into seven zones and they assign a two to three man crew to each zone. And they go around looking for debris in the roadways, clogged ditches, clogged drainage pipes," said City Engineer Jerry Pionessa.

"It wasn't just water. You had a lot of septic fluids that were coming through that went into peoples homes and just kind of ruined everything. And it wasn't like you can just fix anything or dry it out. It was a big mess," said Vanderhoff.

Vanderhoff says it only takes a few inches of rain for there to be issues in his neighborhood.

"Water just settles down here. It makes for a mess in the yards. All these back lots back here. All the water just settles on it. We've got some serious drainage issues."

"We use every storm as an opportunity for our engineering departments, our utility crews, our public works departments to identify drainage issues around the city. We can even use light rainfalls as monitoring opportunities," Pionessa.

Vanderhoff says he is taking this week's forecast of heavy rain seriously, but he has done all he can to prepare.

"Anytime it rains around here you're keeping an eye on what's going on with the yards and stuff like that, but as far as preparation there is not a whole lot you can do."

City officials say the best thing for homeowners to do year round is to not put debris or yard waste in the street or in ditches.

The City of Thomasville announced they will continue with Thursday night's fireworks show as planned.

The display begins at 9:30 p.m. at Remington Park.


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