LILLIAN, Ala. (WKRG) — As rain fell and ditches filled Thursday, Caroline Mack thought the downpour was no big deal. She wasn’t the only person in Lillian concerned about the flooding, which seems only to have gotten worse as more development comes to the area.
“I thought it was just rain till my sister called and said look out the window and I said, Oh my God,” said Mack.
Within minutes the water was rushing through front yards and turned Highway 98 into a waterway.
“This has got to stop,” said Mack. “Somebody needs to help us.”
All of that water headed straight for Jerry Garner’s home.
“Now, I’m getting as much water from a regular rain storm height-wise back here as I am from a hurricane,” said Garner.
The National Weather Service reported just over two and a half inches of rain in Lillian over a 24-hour period. Certainly not hurricane-level rainfall, but residents say the difference is overdevelopment and not enough infrastructure.
“I just don’t feel like until they improve the drainage we can stand any more construction uphill from us,” said Garner.
The County says it’s the state’s drainage issue. The state says new development may have contributed.
“Those drainage pipes are built to a certain standard but those standards may have changed because we have new developments, new subdivisions an RV park down the road and so now you’ve got more water run-off,” says the Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman James Gordon.
Mack says while the state and county pass the buck, she and her neighbors are drowning in the lack of action.
“Get off of your butt and come out and do something for our community,” said Mack.
Engineers from the Alabama Department of Transportation plan to meet next week with residents and see what if anything can be done about drainage along Highway 98 and to make sure retention ponds in the area are up to standards and doing their job.