Homeowners worried about flooding as rain continues

Homeowners worried about flooding as rain continues
Neighbors said it's common for Mockingbird Lane to look like this when it rains / Source: John Bacon
Neighbors said it's common for Mockingbird Lane to look like this when it rains / Source: John Bacon
Shawn and J.B. Upshaw / Source: KFDA
Shawn and J.B. Upshaw / Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Flood waters in Amarillo Monday had drivers seeking alternate routes, and some families now looking for temporary homes.

The Upshaws are one of those families.

Shawna and J.B. Upshaw have owned a house on Mockingbird Lane in southwest Amarillo for about 20 years.

It has flooded about five or six times. The Upshaws said it has become so common an occurrence they've lost count of the actual number.

Their house flooded badly this summer, forcing them to live in a portable house in the backyard.

The family bought that portable house earlier this year because they knew their home would flood again and they'd need a place to stay.

They were right.

Monday, as the Upshaws were finally starting to move back into their home, it flooded.

Again.

"It's easy for people to tell you, why don't you move? Well, who's going to buy your house when they know it's been flooded that many times?" asked Shawna Upshaw.

This home floods so often, any rain in the forecast puts this family on edge.

"Most people when it rains, you're happy to see the rain," said Shawna. "Our kids are immediate. They start picking stuff up. Pick it up, put it on top of the bed and we don't sleep. We wait to see what's going to happen."

"Two, three o'clock in the morning we're up, we're walking around looking out the windows, praying that it doesn't come into the house," said J.B.

The reason this part of Mockingbird Lane floods so often, residents said, is because of poor drainage in surrounding areas.

Plus, when drivers speed through the flooded streets, the wake the cars create pushes even more water into the already flooded houses.

"Most people know 'turn around don't drown.' Well, you know, turn around don't flood somebody's house" said John Bacon, the Upshaws' next-door neighbor. "There're storm drains here but the water comes in in such a fast fashion from around the neighborhoods that it overruns the drainage system that they've got."

Several neighbors on this block say they have been talking with the City of Amarillo's Engineering Department for about three years and are yet to see any improvement.

"[One engineer] says that he's aware of the problem, it's just going to take he said at least another year before it'll be finished," said J.B.
"We can't wait another year," said Shawna.
"That's another flood season," said J.B.

The Upshaws have flood insurance, but not all their neighbors do, like their elderly neighbor across the street, Twylla Buchanan.

Buchanan, 77, lives on a fixed income and has never had her house repaired after many instances of flooding, only cleaned.

Her neighbors fear there's mold growing in her house, and have started a GoFundMe to help her replace her carpets, floors and other necessities.

But there's only so much she can do to prepare.

"It's supposed to be raining all week, are you afraid it's going to happen more?" we asked Buchanan.

"You're kidding," she said. "Well, if it does like it did today, it will [flood]. It'll just fill up and flood."

The City of Amarillo was not able to comment before this story aired on the News at 10.

As this flooding is an ongoing problem, we will continue working to talk with the city on what their plans entail.

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