Motorists attempt to drive through standing water at the intersection of Gunbarrel Road and East Brainerd Road after heavy rain on Aug. 15, 2015, in Chattanooga.

BE CAREFUL: Here's the flooding on Brainerd Road just moments ago.

Posted by Chattanooga Times Free Press on Thursday, April 16, 2015

The impact of nearly several inches of recent rain on saturated ground and little to no sunshine could spell trouble for those who make their living off the land.

J.C. Rains is an extension agent with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture's Extension Program in Bledsoe County. He said that though Bledsoe County didn't get hit as hard as Hamilton County on Thursday, the steady wet days have started to put farmers behind.

"Most places are saturated," Rains said. "For our cattle farmers, it's a muddy mess, and for our commercial vegetable farmers, it's going to be a while before they can plant or spread fertilizers."

Rains said corn and soybean crops have remained relatively unaffected by the rain. Despite the inconvenience, Rains doesn't think it's time to start panicking.

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Storms prompt area flooding

Weather Forecast

Today: 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m., high of 79.
Tonight: 90 percent chance of showers, thunderstorms, low of 63.
Sunday: 90 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 8 a.m., high of 74.
Sunday night: 60 percent chance of showers and possible thunderstorm, low of 61.

"I don't think we've reached a critical point yet, but a lot of producers who are thinking about planting right now probably can't," he said.

One crop that has already been affected by all the rain is strawberries. A release Thursday from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture said that though hopes are still high for this season's crop, the persistent rains this month will cause yields to be light until the first week of May.

The rain also had a domestic impact, with high waters damaging cars and homes throughout the Chattanooga area. Craig Hixson, general manager of SERVPRO of East Chattanooga, which specializes in water damage restoration, said the company was inundated with calls Thursday.

"Our call volume since noon Thursday was about 10 times what we normally do," Hixson said.

Hixson said most of the calls were for homes with leaking roofs and flooded basements. A few downtown businesses also had roof problems and flooded parking lots. Even though more rain is coming tonight and over the next few days, he doesn't expect another flood of calls.

"What we had yesterday was such an anomaly, with such a high volume of water coming down in such a short time," Hixson said.

Nearly 3 inches of rain fell Thursday, National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Kula, adding that's not particularly unusual for the spring.

"Any weather event can bring that kind of rain," Kula said.

Kula said Thursday's amounts brought the monthly total rainfall up over 6 inches, which is 6 inches over the average through April 16. It brought the city's yearly total to 17.33 inches, which is slightly above average. Kula said the city was well below the yearly average before Thursday.

"The city caught up a lot Thursday," he said.

Kula said the pattern of rain isn't changing much in the next week.

"We'll be pretty wet through the weekend, and it doesn't look like we'll see an extended dry period for a while."

Contact WillHealey at whealey@timesfreepress.comor 423-757-6731.

JUST IN: Due to flooding and road closures, all after school and evening activities are canceled for Hamilton County Schools.

Posted by Chattanooga Times Free Press on Thursday, April 16, 2015