City of Lubbock map tool shows flood zones - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City of Lubbock map tool shows flood zones

Portion of map (Source: City of Lubbock) Portion of map (Source: City of Lubbock)
August flooding (Source: KCBD) August flooding (Source: KCBD)
1999 flooding (Source: KCBD) 1999 flooding (Source: KCBD)
Flood Zone map selection (Source: City of Lubbock) Flood Zone map selection (Source: City of Lubbock)

There's more rain on the South Plains this week, and that means more potential flooding in Lubbock.

Before the water begins to pool, you can check out a City of Lubbock map tool that shows places in the city that are most likely to be underwater:

RELATED LINK: City of Lubbock Flood Zone Map

Once Flood Zones is selected from the Layers tab, it shows typical flood zones they have marked from studies the city has done with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Homeowner Colin Williams wishes he had known about this earlier. He has lived in a home near 34th Street and Quaker for ten years.

"I went to Tech for a while, and then I moved over here," Williams said. "I like being over here. It's a lot of young families, my age group."

While Williams enjoys his neighborhood, he wishes someone had warned him about the problems he faces when it rains, like it did last week.

"The Quaker area, I mean, there were people like people wakeboarding down it," he said. "It came all the way up to our cars and up into our front yard, almost to the front door."

Williams experiences problems with flooding in his area during each significant rain, but said it became even worse after 34th Street's recent reconstruction.

"Underneath the house, into the house…it's been bad," Williams said. "It smells bad, causes like a mildew and musty-type smell. We've had animals we've had to rescue, like cats, from an abandoned floor heater in our house."

Williams hopes the city's map will help him avoid these problems in the future.

"This has definitely taught me to look at that," Williams said, "especially with my next step being probably buying…I would definitely get into another area as far as the floods go."

Michael Keenum is a city engineer who has studied where Lubbock's rainwater tends to pool. They do periodic updates on the map.

"We try to update that to be as accurate as possible," Keenum said, "so the residents know the areas we anticipate flooding to occur."

He says these flood zones are usually near playa lakes that are typically every square mile in Lubbock.

"We are always looking for ways to improve," Keenum said. "Sometimes there's not easy answers."

Flood zones mean higher insurance cost to get protection from water damage, Keenum said.

"Anybody city-wide can purchase flood insurance at a reduced rate because we're part of the National Flood Insurance program," he said, "and so all of that helps."

Keenum and his department search for ways to make sure homes stay dry through their studies and drainage projects.

"That's what we're trying to do," he said, "is protect the structures.

The city's drainage projects have already made progress, Keenum said, so water does stay for months at a time like it did after the June 1999 flooding.

"We had areas that were underwater for literally six months," he said. "and we just don't see that anymore, and so that's a fantastic benefit to the community."

However, Keenum said that means many roads serve as a path of drainage.

"For the traveling public, that's difficult," he said, "but we would much rather have water in the roads than structures."

Keenum and his department continue to develop drainage projects that are funded by storm water fees, with hopes to continue to alleviate Lubbock flooding.

"We're still paying for those projects," he said, "but it's a huge benefit to the community overall, we feel like."

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