Couple deals with flood aftermath, again

Ed and Lee Udell spent Thursday salvaging belongings from their flooded Martinez home.

A creek engorged with runoff from Wednesday’s torrential rains overflowed its banks and sent more than 4 inches of water into the Udells’ home.

“This is totally unreal to have this happen,” Ed Udell said.

The couple knew what to do because it isn’t the first time the creek running next to their Biltmore Drive property topped its banks. The home flooded in October 1990.

“We never thought we’d get flooded again,” Lee Udell said. “I really didn’t. It was supposed to be a one-time deal.”

Columbia County Emergency and Operations Division Director Pam Tucker said four inches of rain fell in the area in less than an hour Wednesday.

“It just started becoming a river,” said the Udells’ daughter, Shannon King, who was at her parents’ home and helped them escape out of a window. “This was worse than the last time.”

Friends and family pitched in Thursday to help sort through and pack up the Udells’ belongings and rip up soaked carpet and flooring.

“My heart just bleeds for these people,” said Jeanie Drawdy, a friend helping them pack.

The couple, who have kept their good humor about the situation, said they aren’t going to gamble and risk a third flood. They plan to clean the house and live in it until they can find another home, preferably on higher ground.

“We’re not doing this again,” Lee Udell said. “I know we’re not the only ones.”

Recent storms have caused flash flooding around Columbia County.

The rising Savannah River began creeping close to Tony Lockee’s home Tuesday. Because his family had been flooded
before, they started moving things off the floor.

“The water was getting up on the porch and we could tell it was rising,” Lockee said. “We’ve lived here so long, we knew it was going to come on in.”

The water receded when the river level was lowered for the Thurmond Dam gates to open Thursday. Lockee is pretty sure the water will be back before the daily storms subside.

“It doesn’t make it any easier,” he said. “It makes it a hassle. … I guess that comes with living on the river.”

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FLOOD INSURANCE?

If you’re thinking of running to your insurance agent to get coverage from the possibility of flooding, you’re too late.

There is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage takes effect, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Standard homeowners and renters policies don’t cover flood damage.

There are a few private insurers, but most flood insurance is underwritten by the federally controlled National Flood Insurance Program.

The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions.

These policies can cost very little where the risk is relatively low, but the higher the risk, the more expensive the insurance, according to David Colmans, the executive director of the Georgia Insurance Information Service.

– From staff reports

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