July 7, 2013

Not a dry day in July

Flooding likely as area gets drenched

By Christopher Smith

— A month with a reputation for cookouts and fireworks is off to a wet start with a week’s worth of rain — something likely to continue until at least Monday, said Claude Craig.

Craig, the Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency director, said after smaller showers last Monday and Tuesday a large system moved into the area Wednesday and became “stagnant.”

Two high pressure points — one to the west and one along the Eastern Seaboard called the Bermuda High — are keeping the system in one place. Tropical moisture and rain are moving over the Southeast while severe heat is going west.

The downpour is expected to bring at least two to four inches before it leaves, according to a flood watch and flash flood warning issued by the National Weather Service Saturday.

“Additional rainfall ... combined with the heavy rain that has already fallen will likely be sufficient to produce flooding,” the advisory reads. “Localized flash flooding cannot be ruled out in individual storms. However, after several days of persistent rainfall, the main threat will be more widespread flooding of creeks, rivers and low-lying areas.”

Craig says the emergency agency is monitoring water level gauges placed in several area rivers and creeks. Most rivers hadn’t shown signs of flooding Saturday night.

“Except Coahulla Creek at Bull’s Mill,” Craig said.

The creek is typically 14 feet and is considered to be flooding at 16 feet. It’s was at 15 feet Saturday night, Craig said.

“But that’s nothing new,” he added. “That happens every time we get indicted by rain.”

Whitfield County 911 reported some fallen trees and high waters at Willowdale Road and Kimberly Park north of I-75 exit 336, as well as some minor flooding at Reed and Poplar Springs roads between the North Bypass and Northwest Whitfield High School.

Water out in Murray

Several locals in Murray County lost water Saturday evening when a water main broke, but it wasn’t immediately clear if the breakage resulted from the storm or not. Officials with Chatsworth Water Works didn’t immediately return several phone messages.

Dwayne Bain, fire chief for Murray County Fire Department and emergency management director, said the storm was a likely culprit.

“It might have been the rain soaking the ground,” Bain said. “I know it was a pretty big break. I don’t know much more than that.”

An automated message at the water works’ main phone number said workers were trying to find the problem.

“We are aware of the problem and are working diligently to fix it,” the message said.

It was unclear if the break had been fixed late Saturday night.

“The good thing about this rain is that it’s not severe,” Craig said. “A little bit of wind, but no hail and no tornadic activity. It is possible something could spin up, but there’s not a lot of activity right now. You can never count it out though.”