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Heavy rains bring flooding Friday afternoon

Heavy rains that fell between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. last Friday left many trying to navigate around flooded streets downtown.

When heavy rains occur in a short time frame, the drainage in the downtown area cannot handle the runoff from other streets. Flooding like this has occurred multiple times over the years.

Runoff came heavily down Sparkman Street onto Main Street, and Short’s Creek beside Sycamore Street and E.A.R.T.H. Park moved out of its banks and flooded from Sycamore Street into the intersection of Hickory and Sparkman streets.

One of the issues on Main Street also involves vehicles passing through the excess rainwater and causing a wave action, washing the water up and over the sidewalks and threatening to flood downtown businesses.

Fred Smith of Adventures Unlimited Travel went out into Main Street in front of his business trying to get the traffic to slow down so that water would not enter the front door.

Smith and Greg McCaig of A Touch of Class Antiques even used shovels to remove debris from the curbs.  According to Smith, the debris, made up of gravel and sand used to help traction from the last snow, had created a natural barrier preventing the excess water from flowing into the drains.

On the western end of Main Street, Ann Tucker and Michelle George were keeping the debris cleaned out of the gutter beside Slate Gallery & Framing on the corner of Main Street West and Corsbie. Water flowing from Short’s Creek, Main Street and down Corsbie converged on their corner. The same thing occurred further east, with vehicles pushing the floodwaters up and over the sidewalk towards the entrance to the businesses. Water reached the door to Slate’s but did not go inside the building.

Water was also over Pattillo Street behind Dari-Delite Friday afternoon.

According to Mayor Don Hall, a rain gauge located at the detention ponds behind the Hartselle City Board of Education showed three and three-fourths inches of rain were measured Friday afternoon.

“The drainage system just can’t take that volume of rain that fast,” Hall said.

Hall also said Public Works Director Daxton Maze was working on a plan to close streets when this amount of rain falls to prevent the wave action from occurring.

The new detention ponds being constructed on the east side of the railroad tracks would have prevented very little of the flooding downtown since it appeared most of the water flowed down from North Sparkman, North Railroad, Corsbie, and West Main with the ditches overflowing and the creek out of its normal boundary.

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