April 13th, 2020 – 11:05 AM
WZQZ Radio –
Sunday night brought back many bad memories of the tornado outbreak of April 27, 2011 as what seemed like an endless string of severe weather warnings including two tornado warnings were issued for Chattooga County throughout the night on Sunday and into Monday morning.
The first line of storms moved into the area around 8pm and turned out to be the strongest of the night. According to Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader, the hardest hit area was the Fields Walk mobile home community in Pennville. The sheriff said that three homes had their roofs separated from the structure but no injuries were reported.
After the storm passed, reports began pouring in of downed trees and power lines blocking the roadways which presented a very dangerous situation for motorists. Several car accidents were reported where cars crashed into the downed trees. Both Sheriff Mark Schrader and County Public Works Director Joe Reed spoke with WZQZ news last night and were urging motorists to stay off the roadways due to the hazardous conditions. Reed said they were getting reports of onlookers out driving the roads to see storm damage.
The final round of storms exited the county at around 1 AM leaving behind a ton of storm damage as well as flooding conditions from the sudden and heavy rainfall. Reports were surfacing in the early morning hours of moderate flooding especially in the Trion area. Much of the damage from the storms will not be able to be assessed until daylight today.
Currently there is a Flood Warning in effect for Chattooga County until 9:42am Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says that the Chattooga River is forecast to rise above flood stage this morning and continue to rise near 17.3 feet early this afternoon. The river is expected to fall below flood stage by tomorrow morning.
Sheriff Schrader is urging people traveling early this morning to use extreme caution. There is a lot of debris and also trees that have been cleared from the roadway which is just off to the sides of the roadway.
Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters tells WZQZ News that the best thing people can do right now is stay put.
There are multiple downed trees and power lines around Chattooga County. Commissioner Winters and Public Works Director Joe Reed say that many roads are still closed or impassible and many that are open still have power lines and downed tree debris. Commissioner Winters said, “Urge people to stay at home unless they have an emergency and have to be out.”
The commissioner said that Georgia Power is saying it could be midnight on Tuesday before all power is restored in Chattooga County.
The heaviest damage in Chattooga County was reported in the Pennville area, heading northeast through Halls Valley. Heavy damage is being reported in Walker County in the Highway 151 area from the Highway 27 intersection to the Naomi Community. That portion of Highway 151 was closed this morning due to the amount of water and damage in the area.
Commissioner Winters says that there were some minor injuries reported in Chattooga County, but no fatalities from the storms.
North Georgia EMC says that as of 10:30 AM (Monday morning ) there are 13,790 customers without power in their service area. They have restored power to close to 4,000 customers, but have a long way to go in restoring power to the entire service area. The largest outage area in Chattooga County spans from Fish Hatchery Road to Beavers Road and over to Buice Lane in Summerville. Other smaller outages are reported as well. Restoration time is listed as “Unknown” as of 10:41 AM (Monday morning).