The sun may be out Saturday but just a few short days ago, the rain wouldn't stop, causing massive amounts flooding all over the Panhandle. The damage in Walton County can not be easily fixed.
Russell Beaty, Director of Emergency Management said, "our estimate on public infrastructure, on roads and stuff like that, is around $17 million." That estimate exceeds damage costs from last years storm and doesn't include houses or other property damage from the flooding. "We are still assessing homes because it's hard for us to get a visual but we are safe saying we have over 100 homes damaged", said Beaty.
Public works employees stayed busy during the rain but say the real work has just begun because crews can't repair roads while they're wet. "This dry weather and this wind is really helping us out a lot, we need this dry weather so we can get everything in tip top shape", said Bob Newsome, the North Walton Project Manager for Walton County Public Works.
With Saturday being the first day of sunshine, crews took advantage and managed to get most of the roads open in North Walton. Officials said they've learned from the past and the infrastructure was more sturdy during this flooding event. "This would be comparable to the event we had in 2009, damage to the roads is quite comparable. we've had a lot of updated infrastructure and that was a good opportunity from FEMA last time and it really helped us out a lot", said Newsome.
The County may be in a better situation than in the past, but public works employees are still working around the clock, their time and resources adding up to a cost the County is hoping to get back. "We will be conducting damage assessments with FEMA next week, the outcome of that will be whether or not we get a federal presidential declaration", said Beaty.