As rainfall starts to recede, it may be hard to believe that just a day ago
"We had taken precautions — Public Works was up the night before preparing — but it was more than we thought it was going to be," said Louis Svehla, public information manager for the Walton Board of County Commissioners.
"I've been working law enforcement for 21 years and this is the worst flooding I have ever seen," added Lt. Keith Chamblee of the Walton County Sheriff's Office.
The National Weather Service estimates that
"Areas south of the bay were hit the hardest," Svehla said. "We knew where a lot of the problem areas would be from past storms, but there were some areas that showed a lot of water retention that were never a problem before."
30A was closed due to road damage at Little Red Fish Lake and
"We fared extremely well considering," Svehla said. "The water is now receding well and roads are opening up rather quickly."
WCSO recruited student resource officers and investigators to direct traffic from flooded intersections and overall keep everyone safe, said Chamblee. Overall, about 26 officers were covering South Walton.
"Our biggest concern was keeping flooded roadways clear," he said. "We saw a lot of drivers stranded because they didn't know how deep the water was. Some people would leave to go to work and turn around because of the floods and find the roads were no longer passable."
At a 9 a.m. emergency meeting Thursday, Walton county officials met to discuss how to help those with major flood damage. The county received six high-wheeled vehicles from the National Guard and is expecting a visit from FEMA early next week. To expedite repairs, the county may be looking to hire contracted employees.
Working with the WCSO, the county received high praise for keeping residents updated on road closures. Svehla himself started his work Wednesday at 5 a.m. from home making calls.
Social media was abuzz with information. WCSO shared photos, road closures and safety tips throughout the day. The Walton ALERT Facebook page garnered 1,200 additional followers throughout the day. One improvement Svehla would like to look into is providing a news feed on the
Svehla reminds residents that the county's repair phase is "a continuous event.”
"We will certainly do our best to get repairs done as quickly as we can,” he said.
Overall, Svehla and Chamblee believe Wednesday's events went as smoothly as possibly.
"It was an exercise of how to do things right," Svehla said.