Rising water is beginning to cause concerns in some parts of Bay County. In the Bayou George area, creeks have overflowed their banks and water is gradually making its way toward houses.
Danny Adams and his neighbors along Zinnia Street like having waterfront property, but not when it rains for days. "It's a little more than I bargained for," said Adams, as he stood on his dock that's now covered by water.
His neighbor, Ron Eades, said he would like to see a little more property and a lot less water. Eades' property is literally an island at the end of Zinnia Street and it's shrinking as water rises in Bluegill and Bayou George creeks. "This is the fourth or fifth time this has happened," said Eades. "Every time it's happened we've begged for help out here and we haven't gotten any help."
Adams said he has called county officials several times in the past few days to ask for assistance. "An assessment of the situation would be wonderful," said Adams. "If they just come out and look to see if there was something they could do about diverting the water certain different ways or something."
On Monday, Steve Dykes of the county's Roads & Bridges Department walked several Zinnia Street properties with the homeowners. "His observation was that this is not a storm water runoff issue," said Valerie Sale, Public Information Officer. "Up in that area there's a tremendous amount of water… when we get a lot of rain like this."
According to the county, every inch of rain that falls on the 278,000 acre Deer Point Lake watershed produces 7.5 billion gallons of water. According to Justin Kiefer, First Alert Storm Center Meteorologist, the watershed has received more than 15 inches of rain during the month of February.
"If they would control the drawdown, we've have no problem," said Eades.
Adams agreed. "If you foresee ten inches of rain coming you drop the lake ten inches," he said.
The county is just coming off a winter drawdown that lasted more than 80 days. The gates were closed last week but reopened when rain started falling. That should help relieve the pressure, but Sale said the gates are not designed for flood control.
"All of the gates that can be open are open [and] have been open since last Friday," said Sale. "There's a finite amount of water that can go through there… we're moving the water out of there as quickly as it can be moved out of there."
But it might not be fast enough for the residents of Zinnia Street, who spent Monday afternoon and the early evening filling sandbags and placing them in strategic locations where water could enter houses. "There's really nothing we can do but pray," said Adams.
Sale said the county is making sand available at no charge to anyone who wants to sandbag their property. It's available at the county yard on John Pitts Road during regular business hours.