Wide Hollow Creek gushes into backyard; city officials say dirt wall blowout to blame


YAKIMA, Wash. -- More flooding continues around Yakima for people living near Wide Hollow Creek.

Entire blocks have been shut down in West Valley, with floodwaters ripping through one mobile home community.

Angry residents said the flooding disaster could have been prevented.

"It's running like a river; it's destroyed our two homes - we have to leave our houses," said flood victim Gloria Robinette.

Driving through steep water in the Meadowbrook Mobile Estates community, Action News saw the worst was yet to come.

The backyard of one home was swamped with water as Wide Hollow Creek rushed through.

"The creek has rerouted this way, obviously straight this way," said Robinette. "It used to go that way," she said pointing parallel to the yard.

Residents were upset by the destruction as nonstop water flooded more homes. They said it's the result of accumulating brush and debris, which created makeshift dams along the creek, rerouting the water.

Some said it's negligence by the city.

"I am so frustrated because this was 100 percent preventable - this problem," said another flood victim, Patricia Brayson-Winter, who has lived at the property for 19 years.

Blocks away there was another flooded neighborhood, with homeowners pumping out water. More streets were shut down as well.

But city officials said it's the work of Mother Nature, calling it "inevitable" after heavy snowfall and warmer weather.

"When water chooses a path, it's going to take that path and there's not a whole lot that can be done in some instances," said Yakima city spokesperson Randy Beehler.

City officials said maintenance crews are sent out annually to check the creeks and culverts. However, this year there was flooding in unexpected places, like the mobile home community, where they said water blew through a natural dirt wall. They said in such cases there's only so much they can do.

"To do any work in a stream or a creek or a river next to a stream or river requires the permission of state agencies," said Beehler.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife must grant permission to tamper with bodies of water, which can be a lengthy process, leaving many residents frustrated.

"It lifted part of our brick patio up," said Brayson-Winter. "I have sink holes on both sides of my house."

Several residents said they are considering a class-action lawsuit against the city, as Mother Nature continues to wreak havoc in her wake.

City officials said you don't have to live in a floodplain or flood zone to experience flooding. Yakima County is under a flood warning, with the Red Cross re-opening a shelter at Summitview Church of Christ for anyone who needs help. Shelter, meals, and snacks are provided.

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