HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - For the second time in days, the Paula Maria Apartments in Hampton flooded on Tuesday night.
Many people were evacuated to an emergency shelter set up at Eaton Middle School on Cunningham Drive.
Hampton spokeswoman, Robin McCormick, said Paula Maria houses nearly 200 people. Many of the residents are elderly or have special medical needs.
Firefighters used boats and buses to evacuate the residents. However, the evacuation was voluntary, so some chose to stay.
"We have jon boats," said Captain Anthony Chittum, with Hampton Fire and Rescue. "[We] put the patients in the jon boat, put them in life boats and literally towed them by hand to dry land."
Chittum said firefighters initially evacuated 40 people. They were focusing on the people they received 911 calls from. When power crews decided it wasn't safe to leave the power on in the complex, Chittum said crews started knocking on doors and asked residents if they wanted to leave. They evacuated 35 more residents.
"Its a giant mess," resident Donna Hinnant said. "It was raining then everything started flooding. The creek back started flooding. In two hours, it was in the apartment."
Thurman Leonard, who has family at the complex, said, "All your big major storms, we keep having to repeat the cycle. They're going to really have to do something to rectify."
Leonard said he is frustrated there is no immediate fix to the flooding. But, he's thankful for the rescue crews' fast response.
"I'm very encouraged and proud of how the city handled it," said Leonard.
McCormick said one person was evacuated from the Century Plaza Apartments. She said Century Plaza also flooded on Saturday.
Next door to Paula Maria, is the City Line Apartment Complex. City Line is just over the Newport News line. Like Paula Maria, City Line flooded Saturday, Tuesday and was evacuated both times. Newport News spokeswoman Cleder Jones told WAVY.com Tuesday's evacuation was a call made by City Line's management. The complex arranged for a place for residents to stay overnight.
As soon as the sun was up Wednesday, residents made their way outside to assess the damage.
Norman Webster doesn't live in City Line, but, he was stopping by on Tuesday evening during the storm. Webster couldn't drive his SUV into the complex before the water stopped him.
Wednesday, Webster had the hood of his truck up and he was letting it air out. The floodwater left a line of grime along the bottom of his SUV, and he had an inch of water on the floorboards. His vehicle was stalled and he was waiting for a tow truck when WAVY.com spoke with him.
"Something is not right," said Webster. "Why does this place continue to flood?"
Janice Bryant met with an insurance agent early Wednesday. She didn't try to drive through the water on Tuesday. Her SUV was still drying out from the flooding on Saturday.
"It was higher than it was Saturday," said Bryant. "It was really a mess."
The water had receded in both City Line and Paula Maria as of early Wednesday morning.
Tami Back with the City of Hampton told WAVY.com significant rainfall within a few days has saturated the ground.
"We have been upgrading our drainage system. We have been focusing on dredging. We spent over $3 million on dredging in trying to keep our waterways clear," Back said.
Back said the city has earmarked additional money for storm water and drainage improvements.
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