As wave after wave of heavy rains passed through the area Tuesday and early Wednesday, residents throughout Ellis County fought the rising water - which in many cases was getting perilously close to their homes.
Residents of McKeever Road in Palmer were among those working to keep the water back as their yards turned into lakes as more storms came through.
“If we get big rains, it does this,” Andy Goforth said, pointing toward the water surrounding his parents and neighbors’ houses before turning back to add line to a water extraction pump.
About an inch of water got into his family’s barn during the April flooding, he said, adding that during the same storm, water got up to the bottoms of the doors on his parents’ house as well.
Danny and Kim Goforth, Andy’s parents, moved into their house on McKeever about two years ago, Danny said.
About the time they were looking at the house, heavy rains came through the area, causing the front yard to take on water, Danny said, recalling the question that incident made him ask.
“We asked the people we bought it from about the water, and they said it would flood like this maybe once every two or three years,” Danny said, adding that Tuesday would be the sixth or seventh time this year he’s had water in his yard.
Over a period of 17 days last month, Danny had pumps running for 15 of them, trying to get the water down and away from his house.
The year’s first flood brought with it debris from nearby corn fields, enough of which accumulated on the Goforths’ white metal fence to actually bend back some of its bars.
Andy recalled they had to open their gate so the water could make its way downstream. They’ve since taken a portion of their fence down to avoid the problem.
However, Danny asserts that he knows why all the flooding on his road is happening.
According to Danny, the Texas Department of Transportation didn’t get the bar ditch deep enough at the intersection of McKeever and Farm-to-Market Road 813.
Holding his hands apart just a few inches, Danny said, “They were only off this much, but that was enough to do all this.”
The Goforths said they have contacted TxDOT a number of times but aside from a visit by a TxDOT employee “who painted some arrows on the road” earlier Tuesday, nothing has happened.
“They say there’s nothing wrong, but obviously something’s wrong,” Danny said.
However, the bar ditch isn’t the only issue affecting their home.
One of their neighbors “downstream” has a partially blocked culvert, which is causing water to back up and divert elsewhere (including the Goforths’ and their other neighbors’ yards).
The bar ditch across the road from them also has filled and is now part of a farmer’s field, the corn stalks stopping just a few feet from the roadway.
County Commissioner Dennis Robinson, who also lives on McKeever Road, thinks the flooding is probably caused by a combination of things.
Noting that the houses on the road are surrounded by crop fields, Robinson said the water caught by the saturated fields has to drain somewhere, “and unfortunately, we’re downstream of where that water wants to go.”
While some ditch work would help the situation, the commissioner said all ditches have a certain point at which they fill and spill out and with this year’s heavy rains, the water would probably get out regardless.
“But anything would help,” Robinson said, adding that in a private role, he’s talked to his neighbors about maybe doing some drainage work around their houses, but nothing has come of it yet.
This morning, the water has subsided some on McKeever, Robinson said, but three roads in Precinct 1 - Palmyra, Neck and Parker Hill - are still closed due to high water.
Ellis County remains under a flash flood watch through Thursday morning, with showers and thunderstorms likely today. Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rainfall, with rain likely through the night with a 70 percent chance of precipitation.
Mostly cloudy conditions are expected Thursday, with a 50 percent chance of precipitation from showers and thunderstorms, decreasing to 30 percent for the evening. Thunderstorms could occur in the evening, with possible heavy rainfall.
Friday’s forecast is partly sunny conditions with a 40 percent chance of rain.
E-mail Anthony at Anthony.Trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com