Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of what will go down in history as one of the worst floods in Middlesboro. Many compared the horrific sight to the flood that occurred in 1977. More than 8 inches of rain fell in just a matter of hours.
Many in the area, including those in the Ambleside subdivision near Middlesboro, waited all day for electricity to be restored to their homes.
Many Middlesboro citizens woke up with several feet of water in their yards, businesses and even homes.
Water covered many roadways in and around the city. Severe flooding was reported on Old Pineville Pike, parts of Cumberland Avenue and 25th Street among other locations. By mid-morning, the Cumberland Gap Tunnel was closed and parts of U.S. 25E were impassable.
Many motorists were forced to abandon their vehicles, and were rescued by emergency workers who reached them in boats. Local wreckers were retrieving cars as they became accessible the rest of the day, and city and county employees were faced with the hefty task of repairing a variety of damage.
Many local agencies helped out tremendously during cleanup efforts following the flood. Local government employees and officials worked to restore the city from damages caused by the event. City police, fire and street crews worked on cleaning downtown roadways of mud and debris and surveyed damages.
It has been one year, and some people in the community are just finishing up repairs. In May, the Salvation Army had nearly completed work on their building located on 18th Street. The building received a large amount of flood damage.
Shades’ Cafe is another business that suffered from the flood. The business had to close to fix flood damages. It was remodeled and the coffee shop/cafe reopened in September.
FEMA came to the area to help support flood victims providing assistance to some in the area with grant money and loans for repairs.
During the Repair Affair event in April, the focus was to help repair homes that received flood damage. At the end of May, the Mission of Hope came to the area to finish work for a family that was victimized by the flood.
Many Middlesboro residents are still feeling the effects from the flood that took so much.