Rain has stopped for the mean time, but many areas of the county and Tri-State are dealing with flooding and the aftermath of several days of storms. Inches of rain have left rivers and streams flooded and many roads remain impassible or hazardous to cross.
Roadways in the city of Pineville proved especially dangerous Tuesday night when floodwaters caused drains to back up.
According to Pineville Special Projects Manager Jacob Roan, gravity gates which allow street water to flow out of the city, were opened and closed according to to river levels. Areas of Bell County, including Pineville, saw more than 2 inches of rain in a 30 minute span.
While sunny weather is expected for the remainder of the week, river conditions can change rapidly and still have the potential to be dangerous.
According to the National Weather Service, the Powell River in Claiborne County will rise to nearly flood stage on Thursday afternoon. Flood stage is 17 feet and the Powell River is expected to rise to nearly 16.5 feet on Thursday afternoon.
Bell County Emergency Management is reminding citizens to pay close attention to flooded roadways and not to cross any high water while in your vehicle.
The Ready Public Service Announcement campaign at www.ready.gov has helpful tips for motorists to remember during this time:
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground, when water is not moving or not more than a few inches deep. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly. If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, stay in the vehicle. If the water is rising inside the vehicle, seek refuge on the roof.
- Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams, rivers or creeks, particularly during threatening conditions.
Many roads in Claiborne and Bell County are closed, collapsed or dangerous to cross due to washouts. According to the Claiborne County Office of Emergency Management Homeland Security Facebook page, Forge Ridge Road is closed and will not reopen until 6 p.m. Thursday.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmdn.