• Germantown crews assessing flood damage after drainage system 'simply overwhelmed' by storms

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    GERMANTOWN, Tenn. - Germantown city staff are still assessing all the damage after unprecedented flooding overnight.

    Friday afternoon, teams visited more than 100 homes, and visits will continue into the weekend.

    RELATED: Cars under water, apartments and homes flooded by downpour in Shelby County

    Nearly 24 hours after flooding started to become an issue, the effects are still visible. Residents said they have never seen anything like it.

    Todd Johnson said his family was watching movies in their living room Thursday night. Hours later, they were watching that same room fill with water.

    “Within 10-15 minutes, it was to our waist throughout the house. It went that fast,” said Johnson.

    City officials said 10 inches of rain hit Germantown overnight after a day of steady rainfall, causing the perfect storm for unprecedented flooding.

    “We get heavy rain all the time, but it’s never been in our windows or kitchen or four, five feet deep,” Johnson said.

    In the midst of the flooding, Johnson and his family tried to save as much as possible. Within an hour, the water rushed out almost as quickly as it rushed in.


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    With more rain on the way, the city is reminding everyone to keep their drains clear. And some residents are wondering if the city should be investing more in drainage.

    Johnson told FOX13 drainage has been an issue in Germantown for years.

    “(Drainage) wasn’t the only factor but it didn’t help and you know I think this is a wakeup call. We’ve got to look at the things that are important to some of the residents here and quit playing politics,” Johnson said.

    Germantown officials said the infrastructure operated as intended, and the system was “simply overwhelmed.”

    City administrator Patrick Lawton told FOX13 there is more than a million dollars set aside for drainage improvements in the upcoming budget. Additionally, the city is spending $150,000 for the master drainage plan – studying the condition of the current drainage system and estimating future improvements.

    In addition to thousands of dollars of damage both inside and outside of their homes, a lot of people don’t have flood insurance because they aren’t in the floodplain.

    City crews are assessing the damages to see if FEMA can step in and provide some relief.

    Officials released the following statement regarding the flooding and cleanup:

    In the early hours of Friday morning, areas of the City received more than 10 inches of rain over the course of three hours. Due to rain earlier in the day and the resulting saturated ground, significant flooding occurred. City employees took to the streets and visited homes along the most affected routes in order to assess the level of damage. Seven teams visited more than 100 homes over the course of the afternoon. Visits are expected to continue Saturday morning. Employees will be wearing yellow safety vests with the City of Germantown seal on the front. A questionnaire will be used to collect information from those affected. While many residents who experienced damage have already called, anyone who experienced property damage due to the heavy rain early Friday morning is asked to call (901) 751-7559 and leave a message over the weekend. 

    Waste Pro, the City’s sanitation contractor, will begin removing storm debris from the affected area on Saturday and will continue through next week. Debris may be placed at the street at any time and may remain there until collected. Street sweeping will also take place over the next week. 

    During the executive team meeting on Friday afternoon, the emergency management team reported that Nonconnah Creek set a new record today, reaching 6 inches higher than the most recent record. With more rain in the forecast, residents are asked to report any blocked storm drains and to avoid parking cars on the street. Non-emergency dispatch is available by call *54 from a cell phone or 757-7338 from any phone. In case of emergency, call 911.

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