Floodwaters lowered significantly for South Washington County

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WASHINGTON COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – Flooding is a familiar issue many struggles with across the Panhandle.

Northwest Florida Water Management officials took to the podium at the Bay County Chamber’s First Friday, Jan. 7 to talk about the issue.

One project, in particular, is giving some much-needed relief to a Washington County Pine Ridge Drive neighborhood.

The amount of rainfall over the past few years has been anything but normal. Northwest Florida Water Management officials said in 2021 they saw over 83 inches of rain.

“We haven’t even tallied up the totals yet for December,” NWFL Water Management Chief of water evaluation Kathleen Coats said.

One of the causes of all of this flooding within the area is the loss of trees after Hurricane Michael. Coats said they were able to draw in more water. So without them comes flooding. With all this added groundwater, there has been persistent flooding in Bay, Jackson, and Washington Counties.

“My driveway was under four feet of water then it got as high as five feet of water,” resident Mike West said.

West said the pine ridge neighborhood on pine ridge drive has suffered since 2018.

“Cul-de-sac that we live in had to be raised several times by the county or we wouldn’t be able to get to the houses,” West said. “We were worried about losing power.”

Coats and her team are working towards a solution for the issue. In a joint effort with other agencies like JEA, they mobilized several pumps and we’ve been able to pump out water from one of the lakes that had been affected. 

West said it took a few weeks before seeing water levels decrease. However, neighbors are finally seeing an end to continuous flooding.

“We are really pleased with what is happening,” West said. “But we just want it to continue so it gets down low enough so they can rebuild the road on my driveway so I can get in and out.”

NWFL Water Management has told residents, like West, to expect these pumps to stay so floodwaters continue to decrease.

Coats said they will keep working with local governments to identify more neighborhood flood areas. So far they have not announced their next project just yet.

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