WKYT Investigates: Checking the flood plains, new flood maps for Johnson Co.


NEXT WEEK WILL MARK ‘THREE’ MONTHS… SINCE THE ‘DEVASTATING’ FLASH FLOODS… IN JOHNSON COUNTY. FOUR PEOPLE DIED.. AND ABOUT TEN ‘MILES’ OF HOMES WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. NOW… “FEMA” HAS RELEASED NEW FLOOD ZONE MAPS.. FOR THAT AREA. SO INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER MIRANDA COMBS WENT BACK TO JOHNSON COUNTY TO SEE IF PEOPLE IN THE FLOODPLAIN… ARE STAYING.. OR LEAVING. Sowing seed like this is typically the end of a lot of hard work…not unusual in the fall….but what happened here three months ago was anything but usual…in fact it was historic. “because this area we are standing in right now we would be completely underwater” and here’s proof, three months later, you can still see the water line on top of this roof. willard burton oversees johnson county’s flood plain you can still see the water line on top of this roof. willard burton oversees johnson county’s flood plain management. and right now, the focus is on cleaning up the worst flood they’ve ever seen. “They use the term historic. we never may see it again and it may happen tomorrow.” with hopes that it won’t be tomorrow…contractor s have made progress in the past few months– cleaning up and cleaning out the creek burning trash and dumping pieces of memories…now behind them. burton says it’s not about finances… it’s about family… “they are living where their parents lived, where their grandparents lived.” “they have one of two options rebuild or look to purchase property somewhere else.” Stand up “County officials say it is ok to rebuild in a flood zone, as long as you follow county ordinances, one being that your living space has to be so far off the ground like this home right here. interesting though just a few months ago this trailer park was full of homes and so far, only two have returned.” “and the people are more educated now. it’s sad to say it took something like this the number of calls i get from people wanting to know if they are in a flood zone because they never worried about it before.” not prompted we’re told by this flood, but a new flood zone map was just released last month…these maps, we’re told take years to make…burton says the last one they had to go by was made in the 80s…the new maps are easier to pinpoint homes and even trees that fall within a flood zone. “were people pushing the envelope before the flood? in terms of? living in a flood zone and not following the ordinances?” “there are probably a few people out there that …home was built prior to the time there was even a flood map.” he says it’s different here now…the neighborhoods that dotted this street are quiet…and he thinks…even though ordinances here make exceptions for flood plains– what happened here in July was too much to start over…for most… “what’s the general vibe you get from residence out here? will they stay and rebuild? In my opinion, just talking i think that most won’t. most have cleaned up their lot and that’s all they’ve done.” RESIDENTS WHO HAVEN’T REGISTERED FOR ASSISTANCE FROM FEMA…HAVE UNTIL MONDAY, OCTOBER 12TH TO DO SO…SO THAT’S JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY. IN REGARD TO THE CLEAN-UP EFFORTS YOU JUST SAW… THEY EXPECT TO BE DONE IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS. QUESTION: HAVING SEEN ALL THE DAMAGE, IT’S REALLY HARD TO BELIEVE IT’S BEING CLEANED UP SO FAST? ANSWER: THEY’VE GOTTEN SOME FEDERAL FUNDING… AND THEY HAVEN’T WASTED ANY TIME…THEY’VE SPLIT UP THE 10 MILES OR SO OF DAMAGE AND HIRED CONTRACTORS TO GO AFTER IT…AND IT’S WORKING. MIRANDA, THANK

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