Flooding from Hurricane Sally brings back memories for Caryville locals

Washington County

CARYVILLE, Fla. (WMBB) — Heavy rainfall from Hurricane Sally brought lots of flooding to the Caryville area. Before the rainfall, the Choctawhatchee River stood at just four feet; after the rains the river peaked at 15.9 feet.

Flooding is something familiar for the Casey and Mandy Pate, who just purchased the Caryville Gas station.

“When we saw what the watermark was going to be, and how high it was, we built a berm around the store to protect it,” Casey Pate said.

They even used sandbags to fight off the flowing water.

While the Pates were working on protecting their gas station storefront, their produce shop just up the road, succumbed to the flood waters.

“We got a call that it’s underwater, so we’ve lost quite a lot to that,” Pate said.

They said they lost a majority of their crops and equipment.

“Our shellers and coolers, we probably have 40 to 50 thousand dollars in them, and they all went under,” Pate said.

For Buddy Brown, who served in the National Guard, the flooding brought back memories to Tropical Storm Alberto back in 1994.

“For where we are standing right now, in 1994, it was over my head,” Brown said.

Brown said that flooding in the area is something residents have grown accustomed to.

“For most folks in Caryville that are veterans and old timers, they’re aware of what’s going to happen because they’ve seen it before,” Brown said.

Checking the river readings from the North is a part of daily life.

“From what I looked at earlier today, the water is receding in those places, which is a good sign,” Brown said.

And while the goal is to be as prepared as possible, it’s mother nature who decides how the flood waters take their course.

As for Casey and Mandy Pate, they said they are pleased that their gas station had no damages from the storm.

They said will begin to work and rebuild the produce shop, in hopes of having fresh strawberries planted for November time.

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