Heavy Rain Causes Flooding in Washington County

Overnight rain totals topped four-inches in several northwest, Florida cities. The water is adding to already swollen rivers and lakes.

Following storms, Washington County Emergency Management personnel check their Chipley rain gauge. From midnight to 8AM Friday morning, just under an inch-and-a-half fell

E.M.A. Director Roger Hagan says National Weather Service graphs of the Choctawhatchee River indicate rising water levels. "Following a two-and-a-half year drought with low water levels, waters from the Choctawhatchee River and Holmes Creek are now rising; the river becomes sort of like a floating dam."

Tom Maleszewski has lived along the river his whole life. After a two-and-a-half year drought, high water is important for the ecosystem. He says they are important because they, "Create sanctuaries for freshwater shrimp and fish; it flushes out the old water and creates a good system for fishing especially."

Lifelong Caryville resident Millard French operates a farm supply business. Life along the river brings a certain life philosophy. "I can't start the rain, and I can't stop the rain,” she says. “And, that's the way I look at it. These things are all out of my hand."

Following the great Caryville 1994 flood, the federal government bought out the far majority of property owners. And, there are fewer residential areas that can now flood.

The July, 1994 Caryville flood resulted in the town losing the majority of its residents due to the federal buy-out.

The Choctawhatchee River in Caryville is expected to crest at around 10-and-a-half feet Saturday afternoon, which is a foot-and-a-half under flood stage.


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