Flooding damages west end of county during Friday rainfall

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

Motorists and homeowners were greeted with an unwanted guest Friday morning: rain.
   The month of August decided to get off to a good start and fill up the rainfall level. Carter County Highway Department crews, sheriff's department officers and fire departments were dispatched to various areas of the county, but a majority of the problems which were experienced were along Milligan Highway and the west end of Carter County.
   Buffalo Creek could not flow fast enough to handle all the rain and runoff. Several areas along Milligan Highway had water backed up in yards and across roadways. Kings Springs Road, in the Central community of the county, flooded enough to cover the doors on cars and up onto front porches.
   The total amount of damage done by the rainfall has yet to be determined.
   According to the National Weather Service in Morristown, Carter County received approximately three to four inches of rain on Friday morning. The afternoon continued to hold a 40 percent chance of rain throughout the day. Flood warnings remained in effect for the county until 4 p.m. Friday with an expected additional one to two inches of rain to fall.
   A weather forecast by The Weather Channel predicted the possibility of isolated and scattered thunderstorms for the county until August 9.
   The road through Quail Hollow was impassable to any vehicle except 4-wheel drives for most of the morning. In front of the entrance to Milligan College water ran across the highway from Old Milligan Highway into Buffalo Creek. Law enforcement personnel supervised the area as motorists slowly splashed through.
   Terry Hatley, 380 Jenkins Hollow Road, said he had six inches of standing water in his garage. His outbuilding, yard and driveway were also buried by the rain, he said.
   The NWS and The American Red Cross suggest to know what to do ahead of time in case of a flash flood or flood warning. It is important to know your area's flood risk. If you are unsure, contact your local Red Cross or your planning and zoning department. Listen to local television or radio stations for flood warnings. A flood watch means a flood is possible in the area. A flood warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in the area.
   The American Red Cross advises that if you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance company to find out how to get it. Also, the Red Cross advises residents to keep paperwork, policies and valuables in a safe deposit box.
   The Red Cross recommends evacuating immediately if a flash flood warning is called in your area, and move to higher ground away from streams and creeks. If barricades are placed in the road, motorists are advised to not attempt to drive around them.
   People are also advised not to drive through flooded areas because as little as a foot of water can wash a car away. However if you do drive through flooded roads and your car stalls, abandon it and climb to higher ground.
   Flooding and flash flooding are also deadly, proving to be the number one weather-related cause for loss of life, according to the NWS. Because flash floods happen in a short period of time, generally less than six hours, they are more life threatening than general floods or river floods.