WASHINGTON - Washington County residents are still watching the effects of last weekend's storms recede, but many say the heavy rain event isn't likely to be one they soon forget.
Falling Waters State Park saw more than nine inches of rain Sunday, resulting in the 100 ft deep, 20 ft. wide cylindrical limestone sinkhole located beneath park's iconic waterfall filling to the top and overflowing.
Park officials say the water usually dissipates within 20 minutes of a heavy rain event, but this time, the sink stayed full for about ten hours.
For residents on dirt roads such as Joiner, Ledger, and Deadening Roads, the storm highlighted frustrations about the need for improved drainage and other repairs residents say have been brought to the attention of the Washington County Board of Commissioners "multiple times."
"We have tried over and over to get something done," said Joiner Road resident Krystal Kowitz after her yard became more than ankle-deep in most areas. "This isn't the first time this has happened."
There has been discussion among county commissioners in the past about Joiner Road and adjoining property lying in a flood zone; however, calls from Washington County News to County Administrator Jeff Massey and County Engineer Cliff Knauer to confirm the road's flood plain status had not been returned at press time.
County Commission Chairman Tray Hawkins states he has talked to property owners, and Massey, Knauer, Commissioner Steve Joyner, and property owners are working together to help resolve the matter as soon as possible.
Meanwhile Chairman Hawkins commends work by Washington County's volunteer fire departments for their efforts during the storm.
"From traffic control, to filling and placing sandbags, these volunteers showed their presence and dedication. I am so proud of them," said Hawkins. "We got more than 11 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours, and we just ask constituents to be patient with us and know that we are working, and we're gonna get there."
For Jim and Felicia Patterson, the rain clouds had the proverbial silver lining as the father and daughter fought to divert damaging heavy water flow from their Sunny Hills home on State Road 77. Desperate to save their doublewide mobile home from certain and impending damage, they called Washington County Sheriff's Office to seek help, a call to which Washington County Deputy Shane Kriser responded.
"It looked like a pair of rivers, one hitting one side of the house, and one hitting the other side," said Jim Patterson. "Deputy Kriser helped save our home. He could have simply said it was a civil matter and that there was nothing he could do, but he went above and beyond to help us. He stripped down to his pants and undershirt and helped us divert the water, working until he was covered in mud from his efforts. He restore my faith in humanity."
Washington County Sheriff Crews says Deputy Kriser is a reflection of the kind of service his office strives to provide.
"The citizens of our county and their safety is the most important thing to us," said Sheriff Crews. "It is important for our communities to know that we are here to serve."
Look for the county's response to road concerns, as well as an update on the road repair schedule in the next edition of Washington County News.