Ten years ago this month, Elba suffered a devastating flood which destroyed much of the downtown district. It was the third flood which ravaged the town during the 1990's.
Ten years ago this month, heavy rains from a tropical storm system caused the Pea River to surge over its banks. It breeched the 70-year-old Earthen Dam within seconds. Cascading water claimed several lives and resulted in tens-of-millions in property damage.
Elba Chamber of Commerce Director Kaye Whitworth was a victim. "The tragedy of taking all your destroyed belongings and having to leave them on the curb so the garbage truck can pick it up; I will tell those folks in the Midwest to keep their heads up, a new day will come."
Several years-ago, the federal government spent more than $10-million dollars building a new dam around the town.
Mayor James Grimes can identify with the folks in Missouri and Ohio suffering with the current floods. "It'll take a while for the businesses to get back on their feet, but once they do, they'll get help from FEMA, and the state,” he said. “It's important."
Local officials say in just the last month, there have been several new businesses opening here; indications that the town continues to grow.
Besides the 1998 flood, Elba residents endured the devastation from high water in 1990 and 1994.