Todd Hooper of Garden World in Abilene cannot believe it has been twelve years since his store was completely flooded out.
“That weekend here at Garden World was pretty much a total disaster, we worked about 2 weeks to get everything cleaned up, the mud swept up and hosed out, just to make it presentable so we could open up again,” said Hooper.
The 2002 flood that hit Abilene on July 4th weekend inundated the city. It trapped residents in their homes and damaged businesses.
Four to six inches of rain fell in just one day. In total, 12 inches of rain had fallen in the area, until the creeks could no longer contain all the water.
Back in 2002, the creeks were covered in plants and trees. Today, they are cleaned up which allows more water to flow through the drainage system. That's something the City of Abilene made a top priority after 2002.
“We go out and we look at the creeks to see how they're flowing, it's amazing how fast the water gets through now that used to get held up by trees and huge weeds in the creek that caused flooding,” said Jim Bryan, the Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Abilene.
More than 600 homes were flooded in 2002 and Taylor County was declared a national disaster area.
Is Abilene ready if another flood strikes?
“Yes, we will be able to handle it; we do training and exercises on flooding all the time. Our job is to protect people and save lives and property all the time,” said Bryan.
The City of Abilene said employees have to go through a rigorous training program to make sure all employees are prepared for when disaster strikes.