When 22-year-old Brandon Jennings woke up Thursday morning, he was expecting an average day. Then he opened his door.
His East Columbus yard, which is in the Masonic subdivision off Tuscaloosa Road, was under about 4 feet of muddy water from nearby Magby Creek. Water was slapping against the hubcaps of his parked car. There were sandbags at his front door.
As he surveyed the flooded, Lowndes County neighborhood, two thoughts ran through his mind:
“What the hell, and how am I going to get out of here,” he said.
While the flood, which was caused by heavy rainfall in Pickens County on Tuesday and Wednesday, surprised Jennings, longtime residents went about business as usual.
In the 14 years Columbus Police Officer Don Richardson has lived in the 300 block of Stewart Road, just down the street from Jennings, he”s seen his yard flooded four or five times.
“It”s an inconvenience because you can”t get in and get out, but it”s just one of those things,” Richardson said. “It”s nature. It”s unexpected.”
Most of the water — which damaged about three houses and closed Lehmberg Road, among others — should have drained away by the end of today, said Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box.
“We kind of bit the bullet,” he said. “I was pleased more of the houses didn”t get water.”
Looking across the new pond in the intersection in front of his house, Richardson said that compared to the last flood several years ago, “this is not bad.”
That could be due, in part, to the city”s efforts to flood-proof the neighborhood by installing larger culverts and digging deeper ditches, Box said.
“That”s about the only thing the city can do in the subdivision,” he said.
Several discussions are in the works now between city, county, state and federal authorities about possible solutions for the oft-soaked neighborhood.
Lowndes County Board of Supervisors decided not to go in with the city to install U.S. Geological Survey monitoring equipment along Magby Creek earlier this year.
The sensors, which were being pushed by Box, would have given residents “a lot more warning,” he said.
Another proposal is to let the U.S. Corps of Engineers build a retention lake in Alabama.
“That would really catch some water,” Box added. “You”d really be getting into the solution there.”
Also being discussed is a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency relocation program, which would allow residents to sell their properties to the government, Box said.
“That”s something some of the people who have put up with this so long … would probably like to look into,” he said.
Also flooded was Luxapalila Creek, although no houses there had been reported damaged.
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