City Officials Begin Tackling Flooding Issues

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Panama City officials are making good on their promise to help residents affected by this month's flooding problems near Cincinnati Avenue and 19th Street. They're considering some new warning procedures, but another option could involved some major changes for homeowners.

For residents like John Dougherty, the effects of the heavy rain Panama City received in early July were like nothing he'd seen before.

"Ripping out the flooring, getting rid of beds that were damaged, all the furniture was damaged cause of water," said Dougherty, "ankle deep in water in your house that's just not right."

And many residents didn't have flood insurance.

"When I talked to my insurance agent when I was redoing all of my paperwork, he said you don't live in a flood zone so you really don't need flood insurance," said Virginia Nunley.

City officials hope homeowners will reconsider flood insurance coverage. They're also searching for ways to prevent future flooding problems, from warning systems with lights to electronic messages to public works officials.

There's also a more drastic solution that has residents more encouraged.

"From our understanding, FEMA will come in if you file an application, and they'll come in and look and say should we lift this home up and what is the cost," said Panama City commissioner Mike Nichols. "Or is it better for us to purchase that home?"

"I've seen that done in other areas where they have raised the houses because we're talking more than 50 houses in our 4 block area," said Nunley, "none of us really can afford to move any other place."