Originally created 06/29/01

Stormwaters result in road flooding



Flash flooding from Thursday's thunderstorm drowned some of Augusta's main thoroughfares, marooning motorists whose cars plunged into several feet of water.

Rocky Creek rose over Gordon Highway under the U.S. Highway 25 ramp. The water level there was high enough to soak engines, and a few drivers had to push their cars to dry land.

Richmond County sheriff's deputies blocked the westbound lanes of Gordon Highway for three hours until the water subsided.

Police had to rescue at least one driver who became stuck in water on Pecan Street off Old McDuffie Road, Richmond County Emergency Management Director David Dlugolenski said.

The area around Rocky Creek, including the Hollywood subdivision behind Regency Mall, was the hardest hit, Mr. Dlugolenski said. Other flooded roads included Milledgeville Road, Wheeless Road, Old Savannah Road, East Boundary, Olive Road, Broad Street, Deans Bridge Road and Meadowbrook Drive, he said.

Heavy rains probably were to blame in three accidents on Interstate 20 near Belair Road, said Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

No one was injured, but one westbound lane was closed for about an hour, he said.

The resulting traffic crunch extended onto Bobby Jones Expressway.

Pam Tucker, Columbia County emergency services director, said Thursday's storm dropped nearly an inch of rain there but caused no flooding.

Doppler radar showed Augusta received 2 to 4 inches of rain in various parts of the city, National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Hawks said. The afternoon heat and tropical moisture moving northward from Florida brewed the storm that moved northward through the area between 5 and 6 p.m., he said.

The weekend forecast calls for more of the same. Today and Saturday should be partly cloudy with chances of thunderstorms, Mr. Hawks said.

"We're still being affected by tropical moisture," he said.

Temperatures are expected to warm into the 90s on Sunday.

Other parts of Georgia also had flooding problems Thursday. Emergency management officials were surveying damage Thursday in Cherokee County northwest of Atlanta, where almost 7 inches of rain fell within three hours.

The downpour washed out two roads and stranded about 100 residents of a subdivision in north central Cherokee.

The county engineering department also was examining damage to assess repairs, said Robby Westbrook, the director of the Cherokee County emergency management agency.

Farther east, in Hall County, authorities evacuated 100 to 150 residents of a mobile home park Wednesday night. Officials were watching the park because it had flooded three times earlier in heavy rain, said Hall County fire Capt. David Kimbrell.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes before midnight, and no serious injuries were reported.

Minor street flooding was reported around Gainesville, Ga..

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.