To Rise Today;
In The Forecast
BY O.J. EARLY
Vast sections of Greene County remain impassable to vehicle traffic today as area creeks and streams continue to rise in the midst of perhaps the worst local flooding in more than a decade.
At 7:30 a.m. today, 50 roads in the county were flooded, according to County Road Superintendent David Weems, with most of the flooding concentrated in the northern and western areas of the county.
(Please see list of flooded roads on Page ???)
"I think it's getting to be the worst I've seen," said Weems, who took office as Road Superintendent in 2006.
"I don't remember water being over Bridge Burners Boulevard [in Midway] since 2006."
Several rescues have taken place since the flooding started Sunday evening, according to Bill Brown, Greene County Emergency Management Director.
"Most of the rescues have been people trying to cross water-covered roadways," Brown said.
At 9 a.m. today, a family was in the process of being rescued from their home on Glades Road, Brown said.
Treacherous conditions kept Greene County Schools closed for the second straight day.
Employees at the Walmart Distribution Center off Pottertown Road were sent home about 7 a.m. today because roads surrounding the center were under water.
A total of 1.8 inches of rain fell between 7 a.m. Monday and 7 a.m. today.
There has been a total of 5.25 inches of rain since Sunday evening, according to measurements recorded at the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Eduation Center on East Allens Bridge Road.
The UT Center is the county's official weather data station.
COLD WEATHER CONCERNS
A new concern, according to David Gaffin, meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Morristown, is black ice forming on still-wet roadways when temperatures dip below freezing, as they are expected to do toward the end of the week.
The NWS issued a flood warning for Greene County until noon today, and a flood watch for the county was extended until 7 p.m. Thursday.
A chance of rain remains in the forecast through Thursday, and the possibility of snow on Thursday is also forecast, Gaffin said.
"We are still expecting it [rain] to taper off by the afternoon," Gaffin said. "But we've got another cold front coming in Thursday."
He added: "Here in the valley we will probably see snow, but it should have a harder time accumulating." He noted that four-to-eight inches of snow accumulation is possible in the mountains.
Gaffin said he and others at the NWS station in Morristown will be monitoring the forecasted colder conditions toward the end of the week.
"There could be some black ice on the roadways when we get below freezing," he said. "That could certainly be a problem going into Thursday night."
WATER STILL RISING
Weems said this morning that creeks and streams could still be rising for at least one more day.
"If it continues to rain, I expect waters to continue to rise in the northern end [and] I expect water in the western end to continue to rise for the next 12 to 24 hours," Weems said.
Ted Rideout, general manager of the Walmart Distribution Center, confirmed this morning that employees at the facility in Midway had been sent home.
The distribution center is located near the western end of Pottertown Road.
Rideout said that second-shift workers were sent home about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and all employees were told to leave at 7 a.m. today.
"Bridge Burners Road was going to become impassable," Rideout said, recalling the decision to allow second-shift employees to leave last night. "Pottertown (Road) already was."
"We did come in this morning," Rideout continued. "As of right now, I've sent everyone home. No trucks are coming in."
DTR, which is located near the eastern end of Pottertown Road, did not have to evacuate, according to Cal Doty, vice president of human resources at DTR.