Bridgeville Events
Thursday, September 23rd. 1999
Carper sees girl's flood video
By Bill McCauley
When 8-year-old Leigha Kline was asked by her grandfather, Danny Dick, to hold and operate a hand-held video camera while he negotiated the turns in his pick-up truck, little did she know that one of the viewers of her video would be her state's governor, Tom Carper.
Leigha, daughter of Tammy Barragan, was with Dick on Thursday when hurricane Floyd hit Greenwood with heavy rains. .Dick thought to take along the family video camera on his drive to survey the damage, in order to have a lasting memory of the unusual event. Having difficulty handling the wheel in the treacherous terrain and at the same time operate the video, he handed it over to the willing hands of his little girl.
Friday morning, Carper visited Greenwood on a downstate swing to survey storm damage. But by then, the waters had largely receded except along certain areas.
Leigha remembered the video made just the day before. And her 15-minute video proved to be the best way to show Carper Greenwood's flooded streets.
After Greenwood, Carper proceeded on to Bridgeville, which had its pumping station inundated by 3 feet of water, and then to Seaford's Wal-Mart flooded parking lot.
Greenwood experienced a total rainfall of 11 or 12 inches, according to town manager Brenda Jones. "We had 8 inches in four hours," she said. "According to Bob Stickles, a foot of snow equals an inch of rain. I guess we had some rain!"
Jones explained that when there are exceptionally heavy rains, the Chesapeake Bay, into which the water flows, gets backed up. That combined with an incoming tide can impede the usual rate of run-off on land seemingly far removed from the bay.
Workers with the Delaware Department of Transportation came into Greenwood Thursday and stayed until they were relieved by the National Guard at 6 in the evening. Weary guardsmen were in turn relieved at 1 the next morning, allowing them to go home to their beds.
Greenwood Fire Company's Finley Jones and Ricky Short were on hand throughout the day. Jones, who is also a Sussex County councilman, was joined by fellow county councilman Dale Dukes and county administrator Bob Stickles.
During the day, eight families were rescued from their homes, including a mother and three children. The mother, according to Jones, had thoughtfully parked the family car on the higher ground of the town parking lot.
Several elderly couples phoned their children to come and get them.
At the height of Thursday's storm, several of Greenwood's roads, including Church Street, were impassable. In addition, Governor's Avenue and Market Street had heavy spots of rain.
This encouraged people to drive around to see the perhaps once-in-a -lifetime spectacle. Their driving caused waves to wash up on the fronts of houses, and this in turn necessitated traffic control.
The day before going to press The Cove, a housing development north of town, still had water where its two ponds had risen sufficiently to meet. Second Street also still had water.