published Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

High water across region; Bradley County roller skater rescued from flooded road

Water covers the grass field Monday near the Howard l. "Baba" Hill Sports Complex in Chickmauga, Ga.
Water covers the grass field Monday near the Howard l. "Baba" Hill Sports Complex in Chickmauga, Ga.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
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    Water covers Old Mill Road on Monday in Fort Oglethorpe.
    Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A Bradley County, Tenn., boy was nearly swept away by floodwaters Sunday while roller-skating in his neighborhood, according to a news release.

The steady downpour over the weekend, which led to localized flooding across the tri-state area, caused Candies Creek to spill over its banks and onto nearby roads.

Patrol Sgt. Jerry Rogers of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office was rechecking barricades placed on both sides of flooding near Tennessee Nursery Road and Old Harrison Pike.

He saw a boy roller-skating toward the water on the other side of the flooding.

Rogers, who described the flooding as "approximately 150 yards of swift running water covering the roadway," said he called out to the boy to stop him from entering the water.

The boy, 13, didn't hear the officer and continued skating along the edge of the road into deeper and swifter water.

"When he got into waist-deep water, the current pushed him off the roadway and into some trees," Rogers said in the release. "I yelled for him to hang onto the trees and not try to move further."

Rogers radioed for help. Deputy Sam Long arrived on the opposite side of the flooding shortly thereafter, and a rescue squad was on the way.

But the officers noticed the boy was struggling to hang on and that they needed to act quickly. Long reached the boy first and prevented him from being swept away. Rogers then helped them reach safety.

The boy's family recently had moved to Bradley County from Pennsylvania and had lived in the neighborhood for only a short time. His mother told officers that she wasn't aware of how deep and swift the creek was when she gave her son permission to go to the store, the release states.

Rogers reported that Long's actions prevented the boy from drowning.

But Bradley County wasn't the only part of the tri-state area with high-water problems.

The National Weather Service early Monday said North Georgia flood warnings continued for several waterways, including the Coosa River near Rome, the Oostanaula River near Calhoun, Armuchee Creek near Armuchee, the Etowah River near east Canton, the Conasauga River near Eton, Coahulla Creek in the Dalton area, Lookout Creek near New England, West Chickamauga Creek near Fort Oglethorpe and the Oconee River near Avant Mine.

In Tennessee, Franklin County got its fair share of water, but in hail form. Schools were closed Monday after a Sunday hailstorm, The Associated Press reported.

WTVF-TV reported the storm hit areas around Decherd and downtown Winchester on Sunday evening, leaving behind several inches of hail.

The Franklin County Highway Department was called to assist in cleaning up the roads around the Winchester town square. There were no immediate reports of any accidents.

In Hamilton County, South Chickamauga Creek crested at 21.64 feet around 8 a.m. Monday. The water level fell to 21.04 feet by 6:15 p.m. on Monday, still 3 feet above flood stage, which is 18 feet. The creek, affecting Hamilton and Catoosa counties, is under a flood warning until around 8 p.m. today. The Tennessee River did not reach flood stage.

While a chance of showers persists through this weekend, meteorologists don't expect more than an inch of rain.

"It'll be nothing like the 5 to 6 inches we've had over the past few days," said Trisha Palmer, National Weather Service meteorologist in Peachtree City, Ga.

"Looks like [today] it's going to start warming up a little bit," she said.

Chattanooga-area highs will hover in the mid- to high 70s through the week, with the possibility of showers and thunderstorms. By Friday night, there's a 40 to 50 percent chance of thunderstorms, with that increasing to 50 to 60 percent on Saturday and Sunday.

"It's not moving out until Monday," Palmer said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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