With the one-year anniversary of the October flood that affected so many in Columbia approaching, Arts & Culture editor Darby Hallman contacted USC philosophy professor Kenneth Warble about his experience of being forced to relocate from his home during the flood last year.
TDG: How bad were the damages to your home?
KW: Our crawlspace flooded and water came into our house through the bathtub. We thought everything was ok until mold started appearing inside our home a few weeks later.
TDG: What was it like to discover/witness the damages that the flood caused to your house?
KW: My wife Jessica, and our children Lily and John had lived in our home for twelve years. I thought we would always live there, so after discovering what had happened under our home and its effects inside the home, I knew that we must move at least in the short term. I loved our home and was devastated to see it in that condition.
TDG: Did you have to relocate and if so what was that like? Also, have you been able to move back?
KW: I came home one night after teaching my evening courses and found a note from my wife saying that mold was in the home, and she and our children were in a hotel. We lived there for a month, and then were able to rent an apartment for a month. During that time we decided to buy another house and fix our existing one. We moved into our new home in mid-January and made improvements to our old one, which we are currently renting.
TDG: What is your most vivid memory of the flood?
KW: Bailing water out of my bathtub into my yard from the bathroom window for around four or five hours.
TDG: Did you ever expect the flood would be as damaging as it was?
KW: I don't think anyone thought that amount of rain would actually occur. I remember seeing the meteorologists models in the days leading up to the flood, and thinking that the predicted precipitation numbers were unrealistic.
TDG: How do you think the state handled the flood and do you still see the effects of it today?
KW: It's difficult for any government to properly prepare for an event that only occurs every thousand years, especially due to the low amount of funding the state receives through our taxes. With that said, it will only be in the coming years when we can adequately evaluate how the state handles the effects of the flood by looking at whether our roads and dams are repaired, and if our state truly values family farms by giving low or no interest loans to them to keep them viable through the coming years.
TDG: Did you know anyone else who was affected?
KW: One of my brother-in-law's and his wife had their basement flood, but they were ok.
TDG: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
KW: My family was extremely fortunate in comparison with a lot of the people in the state who were effected. We actually had a silver lining with the purchase of a new home, and I am quite thankful to FEMA during that time with their response both monetarily and the employees that gave us good information and patience.