Tuscumbia seeks flood mitigation plans to stop future flooding

FEMA offers cities affected by flooding mitigation plans at a low cost to prevent future flooding.

Posted: May 1, 2019 4:00 PM
Updated: May 1, 2019 5:34 PM

In the wake of the devastating floods that hit the Shoals, the city of Tuscumbia is exploring federal grants to prevent future flooding.

Prior to the floods in February, the city was already exploring options to stop flooding, because anytime there are flash floods, Tuscumbia's streets turn into creeks.

Amber Pruit, who owns The Willows Day Spa in Tuscumbia, said the parking lot of her business turns into a river a few times a year.

"Our business almost always floods whenever we get flash flooding or lots of rain," said Pruit. "The parking lot floods a lot. It runs downs the street and ends up clogging our drains and flooding more."

Cave Street in Tuscumbia and Deshler High School's football field floods regularly, too, along with other parts of downtown Tuscumbia. Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood said, because of February's floods, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is offering cities affected by flooding a chance to improve infrastructure, to reduce flooding in the future.

"The federal government says, if we can improve something so the damage is lessened for the next event, they are willing to pay for 75 percent of that," said Underwood. "The state will also pay 12 percent, so we basically have an 87 percent off sale for anything we want to do to improve our flooding situations in town."

Underwood said the city will present a plan to FEMA to fix their problem spots.

"We're looking at mostly storm water issues and ways we can divert water in different places," said Underwood. "So, more waters can go under a certain culvert, opposed to it overflowing into the roads. We're looking at directing water in places that can handle it better than places that are handling it today."

Pruit said she hopes the city and federal government can get everything moving to stop her business from flooding in the future.

"It would be great to have them get that funding to be able to get it fixed quicker than us trying to fund it on our own," said Pruit.

Underwood said the city will present its plan in the next few weeks. It will then be up to FEMA to decide if Tuscumbia will get the reduced costs to prevent flooding in the future.

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