Many areas of Selma and Dallas County were under several inches of water Wednesday as heavy rains swept through the county. Forecasters are predicting there is more rain in our future this week. -- Sarah Cook
Many areas of Selma and Dallas County were under several inches of water Wednesday as heavy rains swept through the county. Forecasters are predicting there is more rain in our future this week. -- Sarah Cook

Storms cause flash floods and damages

Published 10:12pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Streets across every ward in Selma pooled with floodwaters Wednesday as rain fell continually and caused cars to sputter through roadways and flooded some homes.

Just throughout downtown Selma, parts of Church Street, Mabry Street, Broad Street, Martin Luther King Street and Franklin Street were flooded.

Homes saw flooding rise to their doorsteps — similar to damages seen by Hurricane Isaac — Wednesday. There is no official estimate of how many homes were damaged. The flooding brought back memories of Sept. 4, 2012 when Hurricane Isaac caused more than $3.2 million in damages in Dallas County from 9.9 inches of rainfall that poured into the county within 16 hours.

Barbara Shelby said her home on Barrett Road flooded Wednesday afternoon for the second time in 30 years. Shelby had déjà vu to when her home flooded for the first time during Hurricane Isaac in 2012 — the same storm that damaged multiple homes throughout the city.

“Our neighbors in 2012 had their house flood too but we were the lucky ones — we had flood insurance,” Shelby said.

Every room in her home that year was damaged with the exception of one bathroom. All other rooms, including her kitchen, bedrooms and a storage shed out back had to have their floors replaced, had to be repainted and damages totaled more than $35,000.

Wednesday the floodwaters crept towards her front door, where her husband put out sandbags and their front lawn became its own pond.

“My biggest fear is that these drainage issues won’t be fixed and my house will be flooded again,” she said.

Ray Hogg with Hogg Engineering often works on city of Selma infrastructure projects such as drainage issues. Hogg said after the storms Wednesday, the Selma drainage systems are designed in such a way to handle large storms and amounts of rainfall in a 1-10 chance a large storm will occur each year. These are called 10-year storm drains. Creating bigger drainage systems such as 20-year storm drains or 50-year storm drains would be cost prohibitive for the city, Hogg said.

“There are drainage pipes over time that get sediment in them and that leads to the opening of pipes and not as much water can flow through,” Hogg said of one issue the drainage systems face in some areas.

He said Wednesday’s flooding was also likely due, to rain saturating land Tuesday in a previous storm that brought several inches of rain and Wednesday’s storm in addition created floods in some streets.

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