JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Heavy rains hit downtown Johnson City again over the weekend, causing significant flash flooding across several streets.
This summer's unusually high amount of rainfall is repeatedly causing problems the city typically only sees about every five years.
Too much rain, too little time -- it's becoming an all-too-familiar problem in downtown Johnson City this summer according to public works director Phil Pindzola. "This is the most unusual weather pattern we have faced," he told us Monday.
Saturday's flash flooding marked the seventh time the downtown has flooded in the past two months.
Business owners like Gordon Shell at ZZ Tops say it's becoming second nature to prepare for water seeping through their front doors. "We're kind of getting used to it," he said. "It's every week, every night before we leave."
As bad as it has been this year, some business owners say it could have been worse.
Work is well underway on the city's $10 million plan to control flash flood waters. Crews are building a series of retention ponds to catch the water.
Pindzola tells us the pond along Boone Street should be working in a couple of weeks. "It's just that the water down King and Market Street still really has no place to go, so hopefully the detention facility we are building at Boone Street will be able to capture that water," he explained.
The downtown area sits in a flood plain and city leaders say it may be impossible to stop all flooding,
Gordon Shell agrees that it may always flood, but he says it is possible to stop the source of the most damage these flood waters cause. "The biggest part of the damage is the good ol' boys who want to get in their pickup trucks and run up and down [the flooded streets]," he said. "You can actually see your glass bowing in and out from the amount of water they are splashing up on it."
For now, Shell says they will just hope for dryer weather and continue to clean up when it floods; he says turning the damage in to his insurance company every time would only cause his premiums to go out of reach.
City leaders say the Boone Street retention pond should be operational in about a month.
The retaining area at the new founders park should be complete by the end of the year and another water retention pond where U-Haul is currently located will be built next year when the business relocates.
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