Metro Atlanta flood warnings expire, some rivers may still overflow

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Metro Atlanta flood warnings expire, some rivers may still overflow

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JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Atlanta watershed employees were rescued from the flooded Peachtree Creek near Woodward Way.

Some residents were told to leave their homes after Peachtree Creek in Atlanta flooded.

Creeks across metro Atlanta overflowed their banks, as flash flood warnings ended throughout the region.

About eight homes are currently affected by the Peachtree Creek flood, said Sgt. Cortez Stafford, a spokesman for Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. Residents there are not yet trapped in their homes, but will be if the waters continue to rise.

“We’re going door-to-door alerting people of possible flooding,” he said. “We’re giving them a heads up before it becomes mandatory.”

Peachtree Creek, which floods when the water level hits 17 feet, was at 18.24 feet by 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. That level means the neighborhoods might be experiencing moderate flooding.

The level fell below 18 feet later in the afternoon, but could rise again if more rain comes through.

An Atlanta watershed management crew gets stuck on Woodward Avenue as Peachtree Creek overflows on Wednesday. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Kent McMullen, a meteorologist with the NWS, said Northside Drive near the corner of Woodward Way could see one to five feet of water, which could reach the foundations of some homes that are not elevated. Hanover West Drive and the backyards of Peachtree Battle could also get one to three feet of water.

With more storms developing, the likelihood of more floods was high, he said.

“It’s not going to take much rain to keep all this flooding going,” McMullen said.

A spokesman for Fulton County said there have been reports of flooding along Highway 92 in Fairburn, Martin Luther King Boulevard and Lyndhurst Drive in Atlanta as well as Lenox Road and Wildwood Road, also in the city of Atlanta. 

Flooding has also been recorded at Lawrenceville’s Pew Creek and Cobb County’s Allatoona Creek. In Alpharetta, Big Creek was a quarter-foot over its banks and Intrenchment Creek, in Southwest DeKalb County, was two-tenths of a foot over.

Pew Creek rose 6½ feet in the last 24 hours, according to NWS recordings. Allatoona Creek has gone up 8 feet in that time.

The Allatoona waterway gauge detected flooding about 1 p.m. at Stilesboro Road, less than a mile away from the Brookstone Village Publix near the Paulding County line.

The National Weather Service’s flash flood warnings have all ended, but flood warnings for specific waterways remain in effect.

Nancy Creek in Atlanta crested over its banks, rising to 12.3 feet early Wednesday evening.

Big Creek near Cumming, in Forsyth County, is expected to reach six feet, and flood. Its levels should decrease early Thursday morning.

The Alcovy River in Lawrenceville has already reached flood stage. It was at 9.8 feet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, and is expected to be as high as 10.4 feet before lowering later in the evening. It floods at 9 feet.

Sweetwater Creek in Lilburn was just above its 11-foot flood level Wednesday afternoon. It also is expected to fall Wednesday evening.

And in North Fayetteville, Morning Creek was likely to flood. It was at 13.9 feet early Wednesday evening, and floods at 14 feet.

In middle Georgia, an aerial flood warning was issued in Sumter, Crisp, Dooly, Wilcox and Pulaski counties until 8:15 p.m. Those areas saw three to five inches of rain and have standing water in some roads, McMullen said.

An aerial flood warning was also issued for Telfair, Montgomery, Wheeler and Toombs counties until 10:30 p.m., after reports of standing water and impassable roads.

The rest of the metro region not under a flood warning, including areas from Homer to Athens to Macon and Columbus, is under a flood watch until 2 a.m.

"With more rain, it's quite possible more warnings will be issued," McMullen said. "Some of the creeks we don't monitor are pretty close to bank full."

The storms should be "more than enough" to send more creeks over their banks, he said. But McMullen added that as rain let up and the warnings expired, new warnings could be targeted to areas around waterways that were close to flooding.

Clayton Adams rides 2 miles every day rain or shine. He was at Edgewood Avenue and Boulevard Wednesday.  JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

He warned people to be careful of sudden floods.

"Watch the roads and don't cross any roads that are flooded, no matter how safe it seems," he said.

The NWS is monitoring several other possible flood areas throughout metro Atlanta.

McMullen said he expects the Flint River in Lovejoy to flood Thursday afternoon. The Yellow River near Lithonia is expected to flood late tonight, and in Conyers early Thursday afternoon. The Oconee River in Penfield is also expected to flood Thursday.

Other creeks that the agency does not monitor may also have flooded.

“Right now, it’s everything being soaked,” McMullen said. “We need to let some of these creeks and areas drain.”

Although only scattered showers were predicted Thursday, that doesn’t mean the metro region is out of the woods. The forecast called for gusts of wind as high as 35 miles per hour in Atlanta, McMullen said.

“With all this rain, it’s possible that we could have some trees go down because of strong winds,” he said.

State transportation officials have temporarily closed Peachtree Industrial Boulevard southbound just past Tilly Mill Road. Southbound traffic is being rerouted onto the Tilly Mill access road. Northbound travel is not affected.

Lisa Rodriguez-Presley, a spokesperson for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said they have not received any reports of significant flooding by early afternoon.
The agency is working with local emergency managers and other state agencies and will respond to any requests as they are received, she said. 

Watch: Severe storms cause flooding cause watershed vehicle to stall

Atlanta watershed management workers were checking manholes and spillways on Woodward Avenue during severe storms on Wednesday. And then they weren’t. JOHN SPINK/AJC
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