VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — As people in Vestavia Hills clean up after a historic flash flood, they’re blaming a local creek for the bulk of the issue.
A sudden downpour Wednesday created a lot of debris, including vehicles and fallen trees, that got swept into Patton Creek.
The debris formed a makeshift dam near US Highway 31, giving the water no place to go, but over the creek’s banks and into roads and parking lots.
“You don’t think about the force of water until you really see it, and it was powerful,” said Janett Poole, who lives at the Vestavia Park Apartments.
Poole said she felt fortunate that water did not get inside her first floor unit, but some of her neighbors are left with damp carpet.
Several cars were also swept away as the apartment complex’s parking lot flooded.
Patton Creek runs behind the property.
“It’s just clogged up,” Poole said. “You walk back there, and you look and see all the down trees and all that’s in there.”
While Poole has lived at the Vestavia Park Apartments for 10 years, she’s never seen flooding as severe as Wednesday’s.
“This is an ongoing problem,” said Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley Curry. “It’s not the first time that we’ve had water overflow patton creek, and it probably won’t be the last. But we can certainly do what we can to mitigate what you see here.”
Crews from the Alabama Department of Transportation removed the debris that was blocking the flow of water through Patton Creek Thursday.
Curry said he still believes Wednesday’s flooding could not have been prevented.
“The events of (Wednesday) are pretty unique. I’ve heard estimates of up to five inches (of rain) in 45 minutes,” Curry said. “I don’t think any amount of dredging or whatever would solve that issue.”