Sunday, October 30, 2005
Roanoke's new defenses give earlier warning, better responses
Officials say a 1985-like storm would still be dangerous, but they wouldn't be caught by surprise. Could the Great Flood of '85 happen again? | view photos, audio gallery from the flood
By Laurence Hammack
The Roanoke Times
Twenty years ago, David Hoback had a bird's-eye view of the chaos and devastation wrought by the Roanoke Valley's worst flooding on record.
A volunteer firefighter at the time, Hoback spent the afternoon of Nov. 4, 1985, aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, rescuing people from the rooftops where they had been trapped by raging floodwaters.
"Nobody had a clue this was coming," Hoback said.
Today, as the acting chief of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department and the beneficiary of 20 years of hindsight, Hoback has a different view of how the Roanoke Valley's first responders would handle a flood like the one in 1985, which caused more than $100 million in damage and killed 10 people.
"We can't stop the water from rising and falling," he said. "But we certainly can make preparations to prevent property loss and the loss of life."
I am sure that the Firefighters here in Roanoke City are more prepared for disasters such as this mentioned. It seems as though we have seen increased localized flooding in the past couple of years. Check out the link above for more information from today's paper including pictures of the rescues and clean up during the flood of '85.