Tropical Storm Harvey brings back memories in Macon

Harvey brings back memories of the past in Central Ga.

Tropical Storm Harvey continues to bring catastrophic flooding  to Texas.

Now, the storm reminds people of Macon 23 years ago.

"Very similar, disastrous," Beverly Shore says. "We wouldn't want to go through it again," Paula Wingers adds.

What is now Amerson Park was underwater, roads and bridges submerged, leaving a community devastated.

Paula Wingers remembers when boats, rather than cars, navigated the street.

"Where the S&S is, it was like 14-15 feet high. People had boats out there," Wingers says.

Harvey is now serving as a reminder of what happened and what can happen again.

Emergency Management Director Spencer Hawkins says the threat is imminent. 

"Two years ago, we had significant flooding there at Amerson and along the river and some of our low-lying areas," Hawkins continues, "We are not immune to tropical systems. We had it in '94. You can see that Houston and even inland Texas is dealing with that right now. The right storm with the right conditions can be very hurtful for us."

Hurtful, even with aid from storm drains.

"We are not New Orleans. We do not build on stilts, but any kind of, you know, nonpermeable surface, whether it's asphalt or concrete, the water has got to go somewhere, but even the best storm water system in some of the best cities, you get that type of water going into our area. It's not going to be able to absorb that much water," Hawkins says.

Although the storm drains can't handle torrential rains like the flood of '94 or that from Harvey, Hawkins says emergency alerts are much more advanced and sent out much earlier than in years past.

Gauges at the Ocmulgee River and Lake Tobesofkee are monitored by local officials daily in order to prepare and evacuate early if needed.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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