Hardin Co. officials look to learn from 2019 flooding

SAVANNAH, Tenn. — It was around this time last year when the Tennessee River began to rise in Hardin County, bringing with it some of the worst flooding the area has seen in years.

“It was a historical flood because it was the highest we’ve had in 45 years,” said Hardin County floodplain manager Calvin Hinton.

He says despite the severity of last year’s flooding, they haven’t seen much of a change in their housing.

“Most of the people have either come back and downsized or rebuilt their property, or cleaned it up and straightened it up, and they’re still living there,” Hinton said.

By Friday, only a few specific areas had flooded in the county.

The county works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help homeowners affected by floods. However, FEMA guidelines are not strictly enforceable, meaning some homeowners who are not in compliance will not receive financial assistance.

“It’s up to the homeowner. If they don’t want to be in compliance, they can be in noncompliance, and if everything is flooded, they don’t get any type of federal assistance,” Hinton said.

Hinton says that even though FEMA does help out, the amount of money is not nearly enough for what the homeowners need.

“On average, FEMA pays about $6,500 on a claim. Most people have anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 in a structure,” Hinton said.

If homeowners want to avoid a financial catastrophe, Hinton tells them that flood insurance and complying with guidelines is their best path.

“If you have flood insurance, if your house is above that flood level, your house is a whole lot cheaper,” Hinton said.

The county is staying in contact with the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep a constant watch should the water rise quickly.

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