Sandbars show up in flooded backyards in Middlesboro

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

As local and state officials begin initial surveys of the damage, homeowners in Middlesboro are shocked at what they've discovered in their backyards... Sandbars left behind by the flood waters.

Neighbors said the recovery process is slow but steady as they are still digging out after feet of mud and water came barreling into their homes.

"I'm tired, we've still got a few weeks of cleaning to do," said Jackie Bolinger.

Bolinger said the work is far from over. Feet of mud surrounded his house and took over his sunroom. But now he's found something else in his backyard, what looks like a sandbar!

"The mud and whatever you want to call it, silt, sand, and debris," said Bolinger.

Bolinger said Monday morning his wife saw the water rolling down a mountain behind his house. Within minutes, it landed at their doorstep.

"never have we seen a tidal wave wash down through like this," said Bolinger.

The force of the water washed about four feet of land away from the creek's edge.

FEMA is expected to be in Middlesboro on Friday to assess the damage. But local officials said you should start cleaning your home now.

"Take some pictures, get good pictures of the inside and outside of your house. Do what you need to. If you need to pull that carpet out, do what you need to do. Don't hold up. Don't wait for FEMA to start your cleanup," said Paul Wilson, Bell County EMA Director.

It's a cleanup process that may take a while and end up costing homeowners out of their pockets.

Emergency management officials want to make it clear that a homeowner's insurance policy alone will not cover these damages. You would need to have a specific flood insurance policy for that.

That's why they are hoping Middlesboro will qualify for federal aid to help people who did not have insurance.

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