Officials still assessing flood damage

Donations sought to help with clean-up; water advisory for Gilmer

Emergency crews were on the ground Friday afternoon in Gilmer County assessing damage to the hardest hit homes following Thursday’s flooding.

“The Georgia State Patrol provided a helicopter to do damage assessment, and four teams of two people are going into the community and walking along the creeks,” Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Heavy rains late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning dumped as much as five inches of precipitation on the area, causing the Coosawattee River and the Clear and Turkey creeks to overflow their banks.

Rushing waters stranded people, knocked down trees and power lines, washed out some bridges and even pushed one home off its foundation.

At the peak of the storm, roughly 2,300 homes and businesses were without power Thursday in Gilmer, Pickens and Lumpkin counties. But electricity was restored to most homes by Thursday evening, power officials said.

Paulk-Buchanan said only one home was damaged in Pickens County.

Where the damage was done, neighbors pitched in to help residents affected by the floods with clean-up.

Some residents have to worry about the cleanliness of their drinking and washing water, officials said.

A water advisory went was issued around 3 p.m. Friday for the fewer than 200 Gilmer County residents living near Clear Creek and Turkey Creek who use well water, Paulk-Buchanan said.

“If they think their well water may have been contaminated, they should switch to bottled water until the well is tested,” Paulk-Buchanan said.

“This is not the whole county. Just well water where (flood) water came up and may have contaminated their well and ground water. It’s very isolated, but still a health issue.”

Residents believing their well was contaminated should only drink and cook with bottled water and call Gilmer County Emergency Management at 706-276-7246.

In Pickens County, a boil advisory issued late Thursday was suspended, Paulk-Buchanan said.

GEMA and Gilmer County officials are asking for donations of cleaning supplies, including bleach, buckets, mops, disposable gloves and trash bags; building supplies like two-by-fours, tarps, drywall, and sheetrock; and personal hygiene items such as baby wipes, small first-aid kits and mosquito repellent.

Anyone looking to help can call 706-276-7246 or send donations to 1162 Progress Road, Ellijay, GA 30540.