Rainfall batters county


Drivers had to negotiate flooded streets in several areas.
By Abby Morris and Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
amorris@starhq.com; twilson@starhq.com
Another day, another deluge. Thunderstorms and rain swept through the Tri-Cities region Thursday morning dumping rainfall into an already saturated ground, causing mild flooding problems around Carter County.
"Every ditch in this county is stopped up and overflowing, and there is more rain coming," said Sheriff John Henson. According to one deputy with the Carter County Sheriff's Department, Siam Road was flooded in more than a dozen places.
The National Weather Service forecast released Thursday afternoon predicted scattered rain showers and thunderstorms across the region through the weekend.
The weather service reports the Tri-Cities area received 3.5 inches of rain as of 5:20 p.m. on Thursday. The region has received more than 44 inches of precipitation since Jan. 1 "a level more than 17 inches above normal", according to NWS.
Standing water and sheets of water cross roadways in the Hampton area and in the county's eastern end. King Springs and Milligan areas suffered moderate to heavy flooding during rainfall last week.
Weather service reports find Boone and Watauga lakes each nearly 6 inches above normal in rainfall distribution across the watershed basins of Tennessee Valley Authority lakes. The NWS also reported widespread basin-averaged rainfall amounts in excess of 2 to 4 inches with localized amounts of 5 to 6 inches should rivers and streams to rise to levels that result in flooding.

Normally smooth flowing streams quickly became raging torrents.

County Director of Planning Chris Schuettler said his office was receiving calls regarding flooding problems across the county. Flooding hotspots were the county's west end along the Milligan Highway and King Springs Road area, he said. Hampton and Valley Forge areas also had pools of water standing in yards and muddy water trickling along roads.
Schuettler said a comprehensive drainage study to identify flood-prone areas would be a good first step in address flooding. The study would also designate how culverts and drainage ditches could be placed to alleviate localized flooding.
"We have drainage problems all over the county," he said. A drainage study would include a hydrology assessment to determine where water flow caused the most problems. Schuettler said the county's storm water discharge regulations were beginning to make a difference in controlling excess runoff.
"We are actually getting control over silt and runoff," he said. Phase II of the federal Clean Water Act governs storm water discharges from property sites. It requires communities to implement activities that will reduce the amount of pollutants entering the storm sewer system and, ultimately, rivers and lakes.