by Stephanie Hill and Wayne Hardy
A weekend deluge from the remnants of Hurricane Delta flooded some homes, washed out bridges, closed roads and damaged a pair of dams.
White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said Wednesday morning that damage assessments to public infrastructure is continuing after White County Emergency Management Agency teams spent most of Monday reviewing impacted roads, bridges and culverts. The county public works department is developing cost estimates for repairs and personnel from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency are also assessing sites in White County, he added.
Murphy said there were unofficial reports of rainfall amounts from 7.75 inches to 11.5 inches throughout the area.
In a county public safety summary released Monday afternoon, there were 17 calls for downed trees, 10 reports of roadway flooding, 10 reports of roadway flooding with washed out roads, nine motor vehicle accidents that appeared to be weather related, four bridges out or closed and two flooding rescue calls.
Some homes experienced flooding, especially along the river, which led to a pair of rescues from short-term rental properties, Murphy said. A family of six, including four children, was rescued on James Drive as their cabin was surrounded by water. Two other adults were helped out from floodwaters in an incident on Megan Drive.
Bridges that were reported as closed or washed out included Airport Road, Roy Powers Road, Charlie Thomas Road and Beaver Run Drive, Murphy said.
Two private lake dams were also affected. Along with a case at the Patton Lake dam, a compromised dam at Cripple Creek Lane, off Dean Mountain Road, led to a precautionary evacuation of about 100 people from the Riverside Campground on Sunday, Oct. 11. On Monday, the dams were safe and people were able to return home, Murphy said.
“Both of these dams are being evaluated for repairs, and there are no concerns with further erosion problems at this time,” Murphy said. “The Mountain Lake dam must be repaired as soon as possible, as there are homes on the southeast side of the lake that cannot be accessed due to the damage. [The] Georgia Safe Dams Program has been notified of these two sites.”
Murphy said extra personnel were called in during the early morning hours of Sunday through that afternoon to assist in the response efforts for the incidents.
From Saturday, Oct. 10 to Monday, Oct. 12, Cleveland experienced 6.39 inches of rain, with 5.76 inches recorded in Helen and 7.73 inches in Sautee Nacoochee, according to local weather reporter Bill Kinsland.
Weather-related damage was also reported in Cleveland. City Administrator Tom O’Bryant said the storm caused a water line break that led to a boil water notice for many customers.
“There was a washout at a service manhole behind Anytime Fitness (on U.S. 129 S.) and a sinkhole formed at the entrance of Cooperative Purchasing (on South Main Street),” O’Bryant said.
In Helen, City Manager Jerry Elkins said there were no official reports of storm damage.