Bear Creek residents desperate for help for flooding issue

Local News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Flooding has been a serious issue across the Panhandle for the last couple of years, and Bear Creek residents are still dealing with the repercussions of Hurricane Michael.

Homeowners are desperate for a resolution to a major flooding issue in their neighborhood.

“After losing everything you’ve ever owned or acquired, it’s very difficult,” said Mary Lynn Keller-Clements, a resident.

Keller-Clements home went from a one percent chance of flooding to a 100 percent chance of flooding after Hurricane Michael.

So when Hurricane Sally hit, Keller-Clements and her husband experienced 53 inches of contaminated water in and around her home, which forced them into a camper in their driveway.

After spending months renovating their home, Keller-Clements and her husband moved back in June…only to be flooded again by Tropical Storm Fred.

“We don’t have a place to live we don’t have a place for our kids or grandkids to come back to,” Keller-Clements said.

Bay County Commissioner Doug Moore said there is nothing the county can do, so he has been in ongoing conversations with state officials to try to find a resolution.

But, Keller-Clements said after reaching out to the county and the state, residents in the area say they feel helpless.

“No one is taking responsibility, no one is helping us. With Fred, we had 3 feet of water so everything we just replaced is gone again, Keller-Clements said. “So we and our neighbors and our friends are just asking for someone to be accountable.”

Not only is it affecting Keller-Clements and her husband, but also their neighbors.

“My wife and I were trapped on a hill, we couldn’t get out,” said Greg Mercell.

Mercell said recently during Tropical Storm Mindy they decided to get a hotel out of fear that they could be trapped in their own home again.

Commissioner Moore said Hurricane Michael took 300 million trees out of its path, which has been a major contributor to the flooding issue.

“Unfortunately we are flat. We’ve lost a lot of trees, our water table is high, and so water just isn’t draining away, Moore said. “It’s a frustrating thing. I’ve talked with many of them they have voiced their frustrations quite a bit and just trying to work to try to help them and find a solution through the channels that are available through the state and federal government.”

Keller-Clements and her neighbors are desperate for answers before their homes flood again. She said they cant resolve the issues with insurance or mortgage companies until the Bear Creek flooding is resolved.

They are meeting with Commissioner Moore on Saturday.

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