More than 600 county residents were without power and thousands will have to find alternate routes of travel for several weeks after flooding on Monday closed roads and forced some families to evacuate their homes.
The National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Ga., reported that 14.08 inches of rain had fallen at DeKalb Peachtree Airport from Sept. 14 through 8 a.m. on Sept. 22. Also, 3.23 inches of rain fell from 8 a.m. Sept. 21 to 8 a.m. Sept. 22.
DeKalb is one of 17 counties in Georgia declared a state of emergency by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
“We are currently focused on rescuing victims of the storms targeting Georgia and preventing further damage,” Perdue said in a statement. “State personnel and equipment are being deployed to assist affected communities. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) is coordinating our response and managing the State Operations Center, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environmental Protection Division (EPD) are deploying boats, high-water vehicles, and testing water. Other state agencies are deploying manpower and additional resources.”
Twenty families were evacuated due to flooding from Casa Mia Apartments off Henderson Mill near Mercer University Drive. Also, nine families had to leave their homes on Drake Avenue (near Stephenson Road).
The DeKalb County School System closed all schools on Tuesday because of storm damage around the county.
Flooding of creeks and rivers in the county made driving treacherous and led to the closing of more than 30 roads by Monday afternoon.
The Yellow River in Lithonia set a flood record at 25.5 feet, according to the NWS. The old record was 17.53 feet, with the flood stage at 17 feet.
“Only the Yellow River is above flood stage now as the other two creeks have gone down,” said DeKalb County Director of Public Safety William Miller. “We didn’t have damage like Paulding or Cobb counties, but we did have some bad damage here. Some houses have been flooded, there is some bad water damage, and people and families have been displaced. The Red Cross has done a great job assisting us through this.”
According to the county, Nancy Creek had risen to 13 feet, 3 inches, which is more than 2 feet past its flood stage.
Peachtree Creek had risen to 20 feet, 6 inches and was forecast to reach 24 feet, 2 inches. The Yellow River had exceeded its banks by a foot on Monday and was expected to rise another 10 feet during the week.
Spaghetti Junction, where I-85 and I-285 intersect, was shut down for about an hour early Monday because of high water and several minor accidents. The interchange was closed again Monday afternoon as heavy rain pelted the area. Mudslides also forced the closing of portions of U.S. 78 on Monday.
A National Weather Service spokesman said Paulding County had reported up to 15 inches of rain through Monday, Sept. 21, while other parts of metro Atlanta were well below DeKalb’s rainfall amount. Marietta reported 6.5 inches of rain while other parts of Cobb County had about 10 inches of rain. The city of Atlanta had about 6 inches of rainfall.
The county set up a shelter at Clairmont Presbyterian Church at 1994 Clairmont Road. Miller said one family made use of the shelter Monday night and that it would remain open as long as it was needed.
For additional information and assistance, call (678) 406-7850 or (678) 406-7853. Also, residents can call the Red Cross at (866) 724-3577 or the Salvation Army at 211.