‘Something We’ve Never Experienced': Northport Residents Describe Destructive Flooding
Residents of a trailer park in Northport were reeling Sunday morning after Tropical Storm Claudette dropped torrential rain and caused devastating flash flooding in the area Saturday night.
The Willowbrook community, which sits just off Hunter Creek Road between McFarland Boulevard and Watermelon Road, saw floodwaters surge through many of the trailers there, stranding some residents for hours and leading to widespread property damage and loss.
Andie Jones, whose parents live in the trailer park, said she drove to Willowbrook to help them escape the area Saturday night, but by the time she arrived, flooding had made entry into the park impossible.
"We were standing up at the corner of Hunter Creek and 82 in that cash loan parking lot and all we could do is just watch them try to use a flashlight, get out of the trailer and wait for the boats," Jones said. "There was nothing we could do, we all felt helpless."
Jones said she called her mother and stayed on the phone for an hour and 17 minutes until emergency personnel were able to get to their trailer in a boat and rescue them.
"All I kept telling her was, 'Momma just fight, just keep yelling for help, keep banging on something, just keep going,'" Jones said, "She was very weak, but we kept them going and they're safe right now."
Jones said she thinks her parents' trailer and car will both be declared a total loss, and several other residents of the trailer park are struggling with the same level of devastation Sunday.
"Just pray, definitely pray for everyone affected over here in this flood," Jones said.
Susie Lassiter, who lives in Willowbrook, said she wasn't at home when the flooding started, and by the time she got back, the water was waist-deep and her brother trapped inside a trailer.
He was eventually able to escape through a back door and wade to safety, but Lassiter said much of the property in their trailer was destroyed and many others in the community lost everything.
"All of us over here, we're hurting," Lassiter said. "We're experiencing something over here we've never experienced in our lives."
Lassiter said this isn't the first time the trailer park has flooded, but it is by far the worst.
"For the ones whose trailers are just torn completely up, it looks like a tornado hit them and my heart goes out to them," Lassiter said. "They've got family members here moving them out and you're in a place you just don't know what to say."
Lassiter and Jones both said the event Saturday was the true definition of a flash flood, and the Willowbrook community was in imminent danger before its residents could prepare or evacuate.
Lassiter said she hopes the devastation the floodwaters caused Saturday will convince city and county officials to work harder to prevent future flood events at the trailer park.
"Being in church, I learned that good come out of bad situations and we trust in God," Lassiter said. "My heart goes out to each and every one of us out here and I just hope something gets done about this flooding over here."