Winter weather arriving?
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 16, 2013 | 2677 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AN AREA off Freewill Road looked like a river. Heavy rains fell during the past few days and additional precipitation is anticipated. Tennessee was declared to be in a State of Emergency Tuesday evening due to flooding and forecasts for more rain and wintry weather. Banner photos, GREG KAYLOR
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After four days of nearly constant rainfall, flooding of area roads and some road closures have been the concern of emergency personnel and residents. Tennessee Emergency Management Agency made a “Declaration of State Emergency.”

Tennessee in general has experienced record-breaking warm temperatures the past few days, along with snow, ice and major rainfall amounts in some areas. To date, the Cleveland and Bradley County area has been spared frozen precipitation; however, a possible icing or snow event is included in the Southeast Tennessee forecast for Thursday.

The first threats of soaking and flooding rains came last weekend with forecasters projecting the wet conditions could last through much of the week. While much of the state’s eastern portion was being pelted by heavy rain, some areas in Tennessee’s western and middle sectors were getting ice.

Bradley County and the surrounding areas experienced heavy rainfall which flooded roadways, turned creeks into rivers and forced school closures in neighboring counties. The Cleveland and Bradley County school systems have remained in operation so far.

McMinn and Polk county schools were closed Tuesday and today as rain continued to fall.

TEMA described the state of emergency and activated the State Emergency Operations Center at Level 3, along with the Tennessee Emergency Plan.

Level 3 activation “describes an event or period when a serious emergency has occurred or the situation is deteriorating rapidly and public warnings are being issued.”

National Weather Service forecasters indicated during a conference with Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency and other EMAs across the state Tuesday that an additional 1-2 inches of rain was possible throughout the evening into today and Thursday.

“We have had several breaks in the rainfall today. This has helped with the runoff in some areas and we are expecting another break Thursday and then possibly a wintry mix,” said Jerry Johnson Jr. of CBCEMA.

Flood warnings and watches are still in effect due to “a nearly stationary frontal boundary,” according to the NWS.

Trees were reported down Tuesday afternoon in the area of Georgetown Road near Highway 58 in Bradley County. Baker Bridge Road, Candies Lane and Chatata Valley Road were closed due to flooding but as of today, Johnson said the water appeared to be receding. CBCEMA officials are continually monitoring conditions and reporting to the SEOC, according to Curtis Cline, EMA administrative officer.

Cleveland Utilities’ weather station located on Michigan Avenue/Dry Valley Road indicated 6.59 inches of rain has fallen since Sunday.