Torrential downpours flooded homes, washed out roads and left some drivers stranded in feet of water as heavy rain moved through the northern Atlanta suburbs Tuesday night, pummeling parts of Cobb County.
At least 10 families were forced out of their homes as the fast-moving storm shut down busy streets, flooded government buildings and turned apartment parking lots into small lakes.
Cleanup efforts continued throughout the day Wednesday and into the evening after as much as 6 inches of rain fell across parts of Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Forsyth counties in just 24 hours, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said. The intense storm ravaged Marietta and areas of east Cobb, damaging cars, filling homes and businesses with water, and taking down trees in its wake.
Marietta absorbed 4.37 inches of rain, which caused storm drains to quickly overflow.
“That’s just too much water, too fast,” Monahan said.
Several public buildings were also damaged, including the Cobb Magistrate Court, Switzer Library, the 911 call center and the first floor of the county government building on Marietta Square, Cobb spokesman Ross Cavitt said.
In addition to the flooded roads and damaged buildings, emergency responders “made multiple rescues of people trapped in flooded cars,” officials said.
Some residents described their typically quiet neighborhoods as river rapids. In other areas, the water rose so high that cars were partially submerged outside apartment complexes.
More than 50 residents of the Marietta Crossing apartment complex off Powers Ferry Road said their cars were damaged by flooding, Channel 2 reported. Many said they couldn’t get their cars to start at all, but a few who were successful said water shot from their tailpipes when they cranked their vehicles.
“My friend woke up and tried to use her car to go to work, and that’s when she noticed that everything in the car was wet,” said Jermaine Glover, a resident of Marietta Crossing.
Glover’s friend, Tangela Brown, said she had gotten an alert on her phone warning about flash flooding about 2 a.m., but didn’t see the high water when she looked out of her window. When she tried to start her car later, it wouldn’t crank.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ And I saw another lady and she said, ‘Yes, there was a flood last night,’” Brown said. “She said they ran around knocking on people’s doors and there was a bunch of commotion.”
Brown told Glover she noticed mud on the hood of the car, leading her to believe that water had risen over it at some point. Glover said it seems like the car is destroyed.
“I’ve got to call my insurance company,” Brown said. “And then I’ll call out from work.”
The American Red Cross is working with at least 10 families whose homes and apartment units flooded. Volunteers are assisting the displaced residents with temporary housing, meals, clothing and other personal items.
“Caseworkers will assist the families in the days ahead to help them begin their recovery process,” Red Cross spokeswoman Ruby Ramirez said.
On social media, many residents posted videos and photos of the severe flooding conditions they saw.
The storm produced a culvert issue that caused Pickens Industrial Drive to collapse entirely, the city of Marietta said in a statement. It said crews were working to repair the washed-out road, but it’s unclear how long it may take to fix the damage.
A private road leading to an apartment complex in the 2000 block of East Lake Parkway also washed away completely, officials said.
Most county buildings opened Wednesday, but the East Cobb Government Center remained closed after lightning struck a a nearby transformer facility and knocked out power.
In all, the Cobb Department of Transportation responded to more than two dozen calls of flooded roads and cleared eight streets that were blocked by fallen trees, according to Road Maintenance Division Manager Dallas Cain.
While most streets were drivable by Wednesday morning, county officials said repairs and cleanup efforts could take about a week.
“It’s all aftermath stuff that we’re going to be handling now,” Cain said. “The flooded roads are opened. Everything is operational and passable, but it’s going to (take) the next week or so to clean up and get everything back in order.”