Gulf Coast flooding recovery and the impact on cities

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WIAT) – Early estimates reveal the City of Gulf shores sustained nearly $4 million in damage from flooding on April 29th and 30th. “Nobody was really expecting 22-24 inches of rain in less than a 24 hour period,” said Grant Brown with the City of Gulf Shores. More than 200 homes and businesses in at least six different areas of the city were affected.

Herb Malone, President and CEO of Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Tourism says popular tourist spots weren’t impacted. “There were some people who had some flooding in their businesses; you know an inch or two. Water got on the ground floor of an office that kind of thing. Most of them were up and running the very next day,” said Malone.

The recent weather troubles haven’t stopped large events planned for the area. The Hangout Music Festival brought a sellout crowds to the Gulf. But a little as two miles away from the white sandy beaches, hundreds of families have lost everything they own. Several families in Creekside Villas feel as if they’ve been forgotten. More than 3 feet of water poured into their homes after the record rainfall caused a nearby creek to flood. “I lost everything from clothes to my bed, from my tooth brush, all of my medicine floated away in the water,” said Kay Kelley.

She and her grandson escaped the raging waters upstairs. Kelley says property owners have done nothing to help; in fact those who live in community say they’ve been told they have seven days to vacate the flooded properties. When asked what she and her family will do, Kay replied, “Whatever God says to do. We’re still in the process of looking. Because of the devastation through the whole area, there’s not that many vacancies left and the hotels are all filled up because of the Hangout Festival coming, so it’s left us high and dry, high and wet.”

A total 9 counties have been made eligible for individual FEMA assistance as a result of recent severe weather, they include: Baldwin, Blount, DeKalb, Etowah, Jefferson, Lee, Limestone, Mobile and Tuscaloosa. Governor Robert Bentley toured southwest Alabama on May 17th to survey flood damage from recent storms.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42

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