Wichita Falls Turns In FEMA Report

If you've driven in Wichita Falls this year, you've probably felt the relief as those orange cones started coming down at Kemp and Southwest Parkway.  The city has completed a report on its storm water improvement projects.

All the recent construction has likely done more than you think for flood prevention.
As storm water engineer Glenn Soerens explains, the city sends a status update to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, each year.

"It's a report about what we're doing to address our flooding problems.  It's part of the National Flood Insurance Program," he said.

This year's report lists the expected results of the near-finished Faith Village project on Kemp.  Soerens says flooding was the main reason the construction got under way.

"There were houses that were getting flooded pretty constantly, and a large number of homes that could flooded," he said.

In fact, there were hundreds of nearby homes on the 100-year flood plane, meaning they had a 1% chance of flooding every year.  As a result of these storm water improvement projects, more than 200 homes have been taken off the flood plane.  According to the report, the Faith Village Project also moved 18 properties from the 100-year flood plane to the 500-year plane, and more than 50 others off the plane altogether.

"We tend to focus our storm water dollars on removing houses or removing recurring flooding problems from the flood plane," Soerens said.

The report also shows the city is looking ahead to the future.  A master plan prioritizes the top 15 of about 60 areas with flooding issues based on safety, property damage, and road flooding.

"This is something we compiled.  We didn't want to go haphazardly choosing projects and be accused of favoritism," Soerens said.

The list of 15 tentative projects is still in the works, but Soerens says it should be done by the end of the year.  He guesses the next storm water improvement project could start sometime in 2011.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6