The Great N Georgia Flood of '09

It started raining Tuesday. And kept raining. And then it rained some more.

It’s stopped for now. Might get “only” an inch or so today. Some numbers (from my Oregon Sci. rain gauge):

6.5+ TuWTh
A nearly dry Fri
3+ SatSun

And then there was early am Monday. The storm started around 2 am, woke us up. A train of storms running directly overhead for a couple hours. The house shook and shook from thunder. Immense number of crack-booms.

8.11 since midnight when I checked in the morning. 10.55 for the day.

My math tells me it’s around 20.1 inches total.

Some seepage in the basement which is usually dry. (Being 2 blocks from the eastern continental divide has some advantages.) Some trees down in the woods next to us.

7 people dead so far, many more missing. Most are people driving onto flooded roads of course.

Roads closed all over the place. Including stretches of interstates and US highways. The county list of road closings is centered right around us. It’s not just near bridges. One road close by is up a steep hill. The water running down the hill tore the pavement loose.

Schools closed yesterday and today. The bus parking lot of the local HS is a disaster. Buses tossed around, slammed into each other, tipped over.

The Chattahoochee passed the 1919 flood mark. This could be a 100-year flood.

I was neck-deep in the Albany flood of ninety-whatever, because my grandmother picked that moment to up and die. It was rather less than awesome.

Probably some good whitewater possibilities on some of your rivers.

More mundane but pretty damn annoying - traffic snarls as a result. Took me 2 hours and 50 minutes to get home last night. When I got there - the retention pond in our backyard was within a foot of overflowing the damn. Thankfully - the rain abated some, and it started to recover. Now they’re saying more thunderstorms for tomorrow. I shudder to imagine what some high winds will do given the rain-saturated soil conditions.

Depends on how you feel about running rivers at flood stage. The average paddler won’t be able to get on the rivers down here for several days, at a minimum.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t there been a major drought going on in that neck of the woods for a while now? Is this helping? Are once bone dry reservoirs now brimming with H2O?

Some of the pictures are scary. Hope all of our Georgia Dopers come through it OK.

I’m in Chattanooga. Sunday I drove into a flooded intersection under the assumption the water was only two or four inches deep. Because really how deep could it get that quickly.

Majorly stupid assumption, in case you were wondering. I had water to the tops of my wheels that was rooster-tailing from either side of my car. I immediately got that shaky adrenalized feeling and started talking to my car: C’monC’monC’monC’mon, youcandoityoucandoityoucandoit, OhGodOhGodOhGodohGod . . . My engine started coughing as the water slowed the car’s momentum.

I barely made it to the other side. Traffic in all four directions had stopped to watch me, and after seeing how deep it was, no one else was dumb enough to drive in. I pulled over to complete my nervous breakdown and make sure my car wasn’t going to die (it didn’t) and then the police arrived, closing the road and explaining how to detour through a parking lot and behind a fast-food restaurant, because we couldn’t continue down the street we were on because the next intersection was flooded too.

It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done. I just wasn’t thinking. I was very lucky I didn’t have my new car stall out and flood – not to mention that two people have died down in Atlanta from getting out in exactly that situation and being swept away. I don’t think that would have happened to me – there wasn’t any current – but it was a sharp lesson on how quickly you can find yourself in danger.

Yep. Lake Lanier is one of the main sources of drinking water for Atlanta. At one point, it was 18 feet below full pool, which meant that Atlanta had less than 90 days of drinking water remaining. It has been gradually refilling over the past few months. The rain from this past week alone has added over 3 feet of water to the lake, which is now just 3.5 feet from full.

I live in the outskirts of Metro Atlanta and my husband and I tried to make a trip over to his office last night so that he could finish up some work before our vacation later this week. We knew that the interstate was washed out but had no idea how badly until we drove on an overpass. People were out of their cars on the overpass, so of course, we pulled over to see what everyone was looking at.

To see a stretch of interstate, all 6 lanes, completely under water is eerie. And the water wasn’t at all still … it was like a river.

Hubby and I decided that a trip to his work was unnecessary and we made a u-turn and went back home.

The drought broke this past winter, and almost every lake filled back up then. Lanier & Harwell, the two with the smallest watersheds, were the notable exceptions. I’d be surprised if Lanier isn’t back up to pool in another 4 or 5 days.


I’m so very glad that you’re okay, but I have to agree with you here! Please, folks, don’t EVER try to drive through floodwater.

Here’s a useful map showing gage information for Georgia: . You can click on any gage and get height & flow measurements.

Out of curiosity, which gage was that?

20 inches of rain in 24 hours is well above your 100-year rainfall there … which is about 10 inches in 24 hours, if I’m reading my rainfall atlas correctly.

Your probable maximum precip is probably between 30" and 44" in 24 hours, however. At least you didn’t get that much. :wink:

Seems to me we had the 100 year flood in–was it '90? Anyway if I recall correctly, the 100 year flood means that there is a 1 in 100 chance of it happening in any given year, and I think it’s safe to say that this is a hundred year flood event.

Stay safe, y’all.

Me too! 'Cept I was in it because I choose to live in the greater Albeeeeeeeny metro area. That was nasty!

All you nawth Jawja dopers stay safe and out of the flood waters. Do. Not. Drive. Through. Flood. Waters. No offense Jodi. Glad you’re safe.

My family is in West GA about 60 miles south of Atlanta and so far so good. They didn’t get hit with all the rain the metro area did but they do live near the Hooch and probably will experience some flooding over the next few days.

Wow, you’ve gotten more rain in a week than LA has in its entire season! If I could take some of that flood and bring it over here I would try to help you

The 20" was the storm total, Tuesday to Monday. My biggest one day total was Monday with 10.55.

Yeah, they ratcheted down the drought restrictions last spring, but there are still some watering restrictions. Lanier was something like 5’ below full pool which actually is a big help since that means they haven’t had to dump excess water downstream, for now. Here’s a chart.

Lanier has a large drainage area, it’s just a big flat lake so it takes a lot of water to change it’s level. Allatoona, for example, is small and deep so it fluctuates quickly. 1,049,400 acre·ft vs 367,500.

Parts of the mountainous region of Georgia get up to 80 inches a year. :slight_smile:

Oops! Sorry about reading it wrong. So there you go! You and Marinee are right.

Here’s hoping all of our Georgia dopers weather the floods okay. :slight_smile:

We did, NinetyWt, but unfortunately, here in Carrollton, a toddler lost his life when he was swept out of his Dad’s arms at Snake Creek.

Don’t know the exact details, but it seems like the Dad was trying save both his kids, and just couldn’t get to the 3 year old in time.

I think folks may not realise how dangerous even a little flooding can be…



So this is the Sunbelt?

Right now we’re having what they call up in the Pacific Northwest a "sunbreak,’ and every lawnmower in the neighborhood can be heard going full blast. I’ts supposed to start raining again at 7 and pour until midnight, so everyone is attacking a week’s worth of thatch

I live about three miles from Lake Lanier, and plan on hiking it this weekend (they close the trails at 5PM each day, just as I leave work). I hope to see what it looks like full (unless the Army Corps of Engineers gives half of it to Alabma & Florida before I get there).