Tropical Storm Colin was an eye-opener for hurricane season

Cascade pond built for storm drain system.  Photo by Sean Sanders

Cascade pond built for storm drain system.
Photo by Sean Sanders



By Sean Sanders
Outlook Writer

Tropical Storm Colin was an eye-opener if not a wake-up call for residents of the Big Bend. The storm brought as much as 6.35 inches of rain during a torrential downpour in some areas of Tallahassee; a reminder that hurricane season is here.

“Even though we had widespread four- to- six-inch rain totals, flooding was relatively minor,” said Mark Luool of the Tallahassee National Weather Service.

Flooding was only minor in the area because of the lack of heavy rainfall that is typical for Big Bend communities during the summer months. Tallahassee has not been hit by a hurricane since 2005, the longest dry spell since record-keeping began in 1851.

Although it has been 11 years since a hurricane hit the area, Leon County has been preparing for the big storm that many fear will break the hiatus.

“We always tell people to stay prepared because it only takes one,” said Luool.

It’s never too early to begin preparing and the National Weather Service recommends that families have well-stocked storm kits with enough supplies to last two days. Kits should include non-perishable food items, water, batteries, candles and cash money in case ATM’s or banks become unavailable due to electrical shortages. Early preparation could prevent a logjam while shopping to stack a kit, the NWS said.

With storms having a tendency to move at a pace of their own, preparation will always be pivotal to surviving.

That hasn’t been lost on Deborah Jenkins, a Tallahassee resident.

“They’re unpredictable,” Jenkins said. “It really becomes man versus nature and nature has been at it a lot longer than us.”

Storm preparation in Tallahassee hasn’t been focused just on individual readiness. The city has made several adjustments in storm drainage systems. More than $1 million has been spent on drain systems around the city, according to the 2015 Leon County Annual Report.

Structural advancements like Cascades Park have been put in place to advance the existing system.
“What looks like just an ordinary pond isn’t,” said John Buss, a representative from the Leon County Storm Drainage Department.

While Tallahassee has some coastal characteristics like sand,which allows better water drainage, the city’s mountainous terrain of clay generally produces a lot more water runoff. That along with the usually high rainfall in coastal areas makes the city prone to flooding.