Choctawhatchee River crests at major flood height; many residents prepared for worse

Washington County

EBRO, Fla. (WMBB) — Between Washington and Walton counties, the Choctawhatchee river is cresting at a major flood height of 20 feet. 

Residents who live along the river, like Ron Hardy, said on Saturday that it’s been a hectic and even scary couple of days. 

“People are just working, they’re scrambling, all working together to try and get each other ready for it,” he said. “We’re now ready for 23 feet, just glad we didn’t have to prove it.”

He said this is the second worst flood he’s seen in 20 years, but that they were expecting worse.

The originally forecasted crest was at 23 feet, which would have been among historic crests for the Choctawhatchee.

Hardy said that living on the river requires flood planning and intense preparation; his wife Kathryn said that preparation can be a daunting process.

“To watch this river rise for the last two days and not know what to expect, you’re unsure and it’s a very scary situation,” she said. “You just have to be prepared to survive it.”

Both said they believe everyone has survived, getting away with minor damages, although they’ve heard that spots along neighboring creeks are worse off.

“According to the rumors, there’s quite a few folks in lower places that had significant damage,” Hardy said.

While this flooding event did not hit the forecasted crest on the Choctawhatchee, residents here said they learn something new from every flood. This time they said the lesson is to have a moving truck ready to get belongings somewhere safe quickly. 

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