Soggy weather forces delays, detours in the Chattanooga area

Soggy weather forces delays, detours in the Chattanooga area

September 19th, 2012 by Shelly Bradbury in News

Cars pass around water on Bonny Oaks drive Tuesday morning after heavy rains caused some areas to flood.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Casey Wallace doesn't mind rainy days.

"My lawn loves rain; I love sleeping in the rain; I love rain," she said.

And sometimes a rainy day means she gets to meet more people while working the front counter at Chattanooga Cupcakes.

"A cupcake is a cupcake," she said. "We may even be busier on rainy days. I think sometimes people come in just because they're bored."

The only time she dislikes rain is when storm damage blocks her drive to work -- a situation many area residents encountered Tuesday morning. Heavy overnight rains caused flooding, downed trees and school delays across Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.

Hamilton County received an average of 4 inches of rain between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, said Kate Guillet, National Weather Service meteorologist at Morristown, Tenn.

"Pretty much this one event has matched the amount of rain we would normally see in a whole month," she said.

The rainiest spot in Hamilton County, just outside Soddy-Daisy, soaked up 6.3 inches -- nearly three times the amount of rain that typically falls all September.

Roads flooded in several nearby counties. Rhea County and Walker County schools issued two-hour delays, and Hamilton County's Central High School was dismissed at 10:30 a.m. because of flooding in the classrooms.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Janice Atkinson said the flooding is not unusual, especially with so much rain in so short a time.

"The biggest issue is the water covering the roads," she said. "Some of the roads have had to be barricaded due to the high water."

The flooding could have been much more severe, Guillet said.

"In the last couple weeks, we've had very little rainfall, so a lot of the rain was able to be absorbed into the ground," she said. "If we have another event come through like this, we would probably see more severe flooding than what we have seen because the soil couldn't absorb as much."

The rain came because of a slow-moving low pressure system that traveled north from the Gulf of Mexico, WRCB-TV3 meteorologist David Karnes said.

But the worst is over, he added.

"We'll see the rain taper off and skies clear," he said. "We'll have clear skies Wednesday morning and then we'll stay dry through the rest of the week."

Humidity also will drop and temperatures will stay mild this week, he said