Locals, faced with flooding, call for drainage issue help

The first round of rain brought flood waters for some. The National Weather Service says they measured totals of more than five inches of rain near downtown Paducah.

Many people tried to drive through flood waters McCracken County Rescue Squad members say they had to help several people from their car roofs and even pulled people from the flood waters.

Lt. David Shepherd with Paducah Fire and Rescue says the man had been living under the bridge on Irvin Cobb Drive when the water started rising. Shepherd says the man was standing on a bicycle and hanging onto a tree with the water up to his neck. Mercy Regional EMS took him to the hospital as a precaution.

Many also saw flooding and draining issues at their homes and apartments. Paducah Fire and Rescue saved a woman in a kayak from high waters. The neighbors in the area near Oakcrest Road say the water level was eight inches high in some places.

Since flooding in the morning, not much changed by the afternoon, and neighbors say they're thankful for the break in the rain. People have worked all day to pump water out of their apartments, saving belongings, and cleaning up the area. Neighbors say they just want some help because they say if something's not done about the drainage problems, then something worse could happen.

Tony Crouch is the property manager at NHD Properties. He says he got calls at dawn, but apartments were already flooded with water. He says many of the tenants woke up to 8eight to 10 inches of water in their apartments. He says they've seen high water before, but they've only seen flooding in the past two years at the apartments.

Crouch says the drainage problem is a huge emotional stress for the tenants, and that "there's something that's causing the water not to be able to move out the way its supposed to."

City Engineer Rick Murphy says no drainage system — including in Paducah —  is able to handle the nature of a flash flood. He says there isn't a conduit or system big enough to handle flash flooding waters, but admits the city's infrastructure needs an update.

"They're not designed to handle this capacity. No city could afford to build the system that it would take to carry all this water," Murphy said.

But "can't," Crouch says, won't keep the flood waters away. He says that "to sit here and say there's nothing they can do, that means they're not trying."

Murphy says living by any naturally occurring creek or waterway, you need to be especially aware of any flood warning. Many property owners have asked about digging extra drainage ditches in addition to these creeks, but Murphy says the city doesn't have the ability or the funds to do that.

The Red Cross has already opened a shelter for anyone displaced by flooding. It's located at 1527 Martin Luther King Boulevard. The shelter will be open as long as it is needed.

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