Flash floods hit southeast

Emergency responders rescue residents in several areas.

BY MONICA OLIVAS | BALTIMORE | September 18, 2009

"Barriers are there for a reason. Donít drive through high water"

—Tim Hooker, Rutherford County Emergency Management

Heavy rainfall in the Southeast has left many states flooded and the rain is expected to continue through the weekend. Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama have received the worst of the wet weather.

Rutherford County in Tennessee got hit with heavy storms beginning on Thursday. The area’s roads were flooded and 18 homes were evacuated. Most of those residents went to stay with friends and family. But, the water levels were receding and are expected to continue to fall throughout Friday.

Officials with Rutherford County Emergency Management have not been able to assess any damage to the homes as of yet.

No injuries were reported, although rescue workers did have to perform many swift water rescues. One of the rescues was of a woman who drove past a barrier into high water.

“Barriers are there for a reason. Don’t drive through high water,” said Tim Hooker, Assistant Director of Emergency Management.

Every time there is a flood, officials warn residents not to drive into high water, but they often ignore these warning and barricades. And officials say they will keep repeating these warnings until people listen.

“It should have never happened if the person took heed to the road block, but they didn’t,” Hooker said.

The flood watch in Georgia began on Thursday and is expected to continue through Saturday. Storms hit the entire state, but Atlanta, Vidalia and Athens were the worst hit.

Roads were closed and low-lying areas flooded in Taylor County, but no damage or injuries were reported.

And the rain is still pouring down on parts of Arkansas and Alabama. Many counties in these states are expected to be under flash flood watch until Friday evening.

Arkansas may see an additional one to three inches. Some areas of the state have already received more than double the usual rainfall for the area.

Saturated soil and high water levels in creeks in central Alabama are making the area vulnerable to flooding. The National Weather Service is predicting more rain in the area through Friday evening and a flash flood watch is in effect.

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