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Sheffield residents ask city for help after flooding from recent heavy rain

SHEFFIELD, Ala. - Saturday's rain brought high water to some Sheffield residents' doorsteps, and Monday they asked the city for help to keep it from happening again.

Multiple Sheffield residents made WHNT News 19 aware of flooding Saturday following a particularly heavy storm. They said it was happening along Shoals Avenue and in the Sheffield Heights areas, and these parts of the city are not along a floodplain.

Rebecca Southard said Saturday was the second time this month that water accumulated in her yard, the street, and her neighbors' properties.

"The water was at least knee-deep in my backyard, in my side yard," she commented. "It was standing everywhere. It was awful."

She said now she gets nervous during a storm, hoping that her home doesn't suffer serious damage. She's also worried about her air conditioning unit, telling us water rose 20 1/2 inches up into it. It submerged components and possibly caused a hazard, she said. She wants the water back-up to stop.

"My house sits on a wooden foundation. I'm concerned about the wooden foundation rotting," Southard explained. "This could cause mold. Lots of concerns."

Southard and other neighbors we spoke with believe city street maintenance and cleaning the drain systems will fix the issue. They showed us, and the Sheffield City Council, pictures of drains with debris and plants collecting near them.

"I want the city to start maintaining the streets and the drain systems. This is their responsibility," she said. "I'd like to see some cleaning up of the curbs, and maybe eventually they can look at redoing the storm systems. They are 50 plus years old."

At the council meeting, Mayor Ian Sanford said the city will see what it can do.

"We'll get the utility involved. May have to get an engineer involved. We don't know yet," Mayor Sanford told WHNT News 19. "We'll address it." He said initially it is difficult to figure out the best way to do that, but he is committed to trying.

He said when he saw the photos, he realized how difficult the situation was for the people who live along Shoals Avenue.

"I was a little surprised. I didn't realize it was that bad. I will put a caveat there in that we had more rain than I can remember, which is no excuse," he explained. "There's still no reason why the water shouldn't flow through the catch basins."

Mayor Sanford added, "I appreciate them coming out. That's what we're here for."

"I feel like they listened to me," said Southard. "I could tell by the looks on their faces they were pretty astonished by the photos. Hopefully, they'll stick to their word and get something done."

Southard said she will be back at next month's meeting to check on the city's progress.