COA: Flooding Update

The City of Amarillo held a press conference Monday afternoon to share the latest on how the city is dealing with the current flooding and shed some light on assets that have been called into question in recent days, including pumps.

Mayor Cole Stanley said the city is watching weather patterns, adding a meeting is planned for Thursday to further assess damage to this point.

With concerns over the pumping of the Playa lakes around Amarillo, Amarillo Director of Public Works Donny Hooper cleared up some confusion that led to unfounded rumors, including the city not pumping some areas while focusing on others. “We have been pumping,” he said. “We cannot pump while it is raining so it does not overtax the system.”

Hooper clarified that Playa Lake 17, also known as Bennett Lake located on South Georgia just south of I-27, is not pumping at this time because “Bennett Lake pumps into Lawrence Lake and it is simply unable to take anymore.”

Lawrence Lake is the playa that has overflowed into the Paramount and Olsen area, closing streets and a few businesses. Amarillo Police are investigating a body pulled from that lake early Monday morning.

With all the flooding, many have wondered why the fixes applied just a few years ago aren’t working, especially along the I-40 sections of Western, Georgia, and Washington. Mayor Stanley said he has not had time to really examine the spending over the last 10 years to be able to say where previous leaders should have spent more, and where they could have spent less.