April showers bring flood alerts to Chattanooga area

April showers bring flood alerts to Chattanooga area

April 8th, 2014 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Although the Chattanooga Public Works Department closed Davidson Road, a vehicle plows through the standing water Monday as another motorist turns around in the background. Sporadic heavy rainfall Sunday night and Monday caused some flooding in the area.

Photo by Erin O. Smith/Times Free Press.

Water streams out of a drain at Brown Acres Golf Course on Monday. Rain caused flooding in several areas across Chattanooga.

Photo by Erin O. Smith/Times Free Press.

Rain pelted the Chattanooga area for the last day or so, helping the region begin to edge toward normal rainfall levels for this time of year.

"I could just tell by my own garden that we're behind," said Craig Walker, perennial specialist at The Barn Nursery, on Monday afternoon as a steady number of customers trickled in with overcast skies above.

Even with temperatures beginning to cool to the 40s Monday afternoon, people were eager to load carts full of plants and dirt.

"People are ready to plant after this winter," he said.

In Walker's garden, a plant that is normally an evergreen, loropetalum, lost leaves this winter. The plant with the purple trailing leaves was already showing signs of renewal, though.

"I do suspect a lot of plants damaged by the cold, that it's taken them a little longer to re-leaf," Walker said. "They could definitely use the watering."

The Chattanooga area had about 2.3 inches of rain after Sunday night's rainfall, records show.

Before the latest rains, the annual rainfall was at 10.48 inches for the Chattanooga area. Normally, the area has about 15.57 inches of rain this time of year, said Derek Eisentrout, forecaster for the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tenn.

At the same time last year, the area had 19.7 inches of rain.

"That can change overnight. As you can see, we got two inches of rain," he said.

Looking ahead, there is a small chance of rain this afternoon.

Flood advisories were issued Monday morning near creeks and rivers in Chattanooga and North Georgia areas as waters continued to climb. Those advisories are expected to lift by this afternoon, Eisentrout said.

Strong showers and thunderstorms Monday afternoon were expected to give some areas another inch of rain, he said. On the agency's website, it stated Monday afternoon threats of "marginally severe hail and an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out."

"Of course, people should not attempt to travel across flooded roads and should find alternative routes," he said. "It only takes a few inches of swiftly flowing water to carry away vehicles."

As of 9:15 a.m. Monday, South Chickamauga Creek measurements came back at 13.4 feet and rising. The flood stage is 18 feet, which is expected to be reached by this morning.

Water is expected to flood Mack Smith Road in Catoosa County, Ga., near the golf courses.

Flood warnings also have been issued for Coahulla Creek near Keiths Mill and Dalton, the Conasauga River near Eton and portions of the river near Tilton, and West Chickamauga Creek near Fort Oglethorpe affecting Catoosa and Hamilton counties, according to the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Ga.

In central Alabama, there were reports more severe flooding as people were rescued from their vehicles and also from mobile home park, the Associated Press reported.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.