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Widespread flooding reported across Sullivan County

Matthew Lane • Feb 6, 2020 at 11:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Heavy rains have fallen the past two days, causing widespread flooding throughout our region, especially in the low-lying areas of Sullivan and Hawkins counties and in many parts of Southwest Virginia.

Due to the forecast, our region remains under a flood warning through Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The wet weather began Wednesday morning, with clouds dropping just over a half-inch of rain throughout the day. However, by Thursday morning the rains picked up considerably, and by 1 p.m. Tri-Cities Airport had seen about 3.3 inches of rain.

In total, nearly 4 inches of rain fell in the region over about 36 hours. The forecast for the next three days calls for less rain than we’ve seen over the past couple of days.

Meteorologist Tim Doyle with the National Weather Service in Morristown said Friday’s forecast calls for snow or light rain in the morning with up to one inch of snow accumulation in the higher elevations, with temperatures in the middle 30s during the day.

Saturday should have partly sunny skies with a 60% chance of rain in the afternoon. On Sunday, the weather should be mostly sunny with highs in the lower 50s, Doyle said.

FLOODED ROADS AND VALLEYS

Most of the reported flooding in Tennessee occurred in the central and southeastern parts of the state. All of the usual flooding spots in our region were likely underwater by Thursday morning: Reedy Creek, Horse Creek, and the Holston River, for example, all saw water up to, and in some places, over their banks.

Numerous flat areas of the county, farmland and front yards in Sullivan Gardens, Meadowview and Rock Springs were underwater. Though floodwaters closed Bays Mountain Park on Thursday, the Kingsport Fire Department did not receive any flood-related calls.

Captain Andy Seabolt, with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, said their office received reports of flooding along Reservoir Road in Kingsport, Big Springs Road and Tate Road in Bluff City and Buncombe Road and Cave Hill Road in Blountville.

In regard to the flooding along Buncombe Road, there was one treacherous situation that took place around 4 a.m. on Thursday.

Deputies responded to a motorist trapped in his vehicle on Buncombe Road, surrounded by 3 feet of floodwater. Seabolt said water was up to the hood and the man was standing on top of his truck when rescuers arrived. A wrecker pulled the truck out of the water.

“I’m sure as it continues to rain (Thursday), we’ll start to see an increase in the number of calls,” Seabolt said.

RED CROSS & THE TVA

The American Red Cross has teams across Middle and East Tennessee responding to storm damage and flooding. Disaster assessment teams will travel through affected communities when it is safe to do so. Shelters are on standby to open as needed to give displaced residents a safe place to stay.

One such shelter has been opened at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City.

As more rain moves through the state, Red Cross workers are monitoring the situation and are ready to respond if additional assistance is needed. Anyone in need of assistance should call 1-800-RED CROSS.

James Everett, senior manager of TVA’s River Forecast Center, said a month’s worth of rainfall has occurred over the last two days.

“We had a very wet January,” Everett told reporters in a conference call. “Heavy rainfall during the first five, six days of February on top of pretty wet ground has produced a high runoff amount.”

TVA’s Fort Patrick Henry Dam was releasing water into the Holston River on Thursday, but larger TVA-managed lakes like South Holston were not. At the end of next week, there’s another chance for potentially heavy rainfall, Everett added.

Everett noted TVA will be providing updated forecasts on its social media platforms over the next several days.

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