Hang on to your floatation devices, it's going to be a wet week. But forecasters are dialing back on the amounts they originally originally predicted.With periods of prolonged rain still in the …
Hang on to your floatation devices, it's going to be a wet week. But forecasters are dialing back on the amounts they originally predicted.
With periods of prolonged rain still in the forecast, the National Weather Service is predicting heavy rain will further saturate the ground, which has been deluged with precipitation in recent weeks, leading to flash floods.
Weather forecasters have downgraded the amount of rain expected, with the area now expected to receive 2 to 4 inches through Sunday.
The heavy rains are expected to cause significant flooding of streams, roadways and low-lying areas. The NWS is also warning of potential mud slides in the region.
By the end of the week, river flooding may also a concern, according to the NWS.
There is a 90 percent chance rain showers will continue into Tuesday evening, with thunderstorms developing around 8 a.m. Wednesday and continuing through the weekend.
Thursday should be partly cloudy, with rain returning Friday.
There is still some uncertainty on the timing of periods of heaviest rainfall and exact amounts over the next couple of days, according to the NWS.
Temperatures will range from the low 40s to the high 50s through the weekend.
Flash floods possible
The NWS said there is a possibility flash flood watches will be issued by midweek. In cases where flooding is taking place, vehicle drivers are urged to turn around and not attempt to drive through submerged roadways.
The Tennessee Valley Authority issued a statement Sunday stating they are preparing by increasing releases from the tributary reservoirs like Norris, Douglas, and Cherokee Lakes to create as much storage space as possible. On the main stem of the Tennessee River, TVA officials said "reservoirs are being pulled down to below winter pool to have some storage and handle local inflows."
As of Feb. 15, TVA said all dams are operating at full capacity and are spilling excess water.
Be mindful of warnings
Cleveland assistant to the city manager Brian Moran urges citizens and travelers to our city "to be extra cautious on the roadways as the potential for area flash flooding grows."
"Just 6 inches of water can cause loss of control and vehicle stalling, and a foot of water will float many vehicles," Moran said. "Two feet of water can carry away most vehicles, including large SUVs and pickups."
Cleveland Police Department public information officer Sgt. Evie West said people should make every effort to take heed of advisories, social media postings and media sources for weather updates.
"Sometimes uncertainty serves a great purpose in alarming us to take safe action," West said. "Therefore, be aware of the roads, use extreme caution and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice, if needed."
Bradley County Sheriff's Office public information officer Adam Lewis reiterated that the heavy rains could lead to flash flooding in certain areas.
"With the ground already saturated due to rains over the weekend, the additional rain expected this week will cause problems," Lewis said.
Lewis said the department is anticipating significant stream flooding, flooding of roadways, and the potential for flash flooding in some areas.
"We will do our best to keep the public up-to-date on any road closings, but the best rule of thumb is to 'Turn around, and don’t drown,'" Lewis said.
Lewis said it is too soon to determine how this might affect school or business closings.
"For now, we are asking people to 'be weather aware' over the next few days, and use extra caution when getting out," Lewis said.
Bradley County Road Superintendent Sandra Knight stressed the importance of drivers paying attention to high water road signs that are placed at flooded roads.
Knight also said crews will be ready with chainsaws and heavy equipment to clear downed trees from roadways, if needed.
"We work closely with the 911 call center and will be monitoring for any roads that are blocked or flooded," Knight said.
The most important thing for motorists to is to pay attention to high water signs and avoid flooded roads, some of which may covered with deep water that easily can stall or wash away a vehicle.
"Every year, someone tries to drive through high water," Knight said.
She warned the signs are sometimes stolen soon after they are displayed. As a result, drivers should be extra vigilant of their surroundings to avoid being stranded by floodwaters.
Flood safety tips
The NWS advises to remain aware and monitor local radio and TV broadcasts for weather emergency bulletins.
• "Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the internet and social media for information and updates."
• "Get to higher ground: if you live in a flood-prone area or are camping in a low- lying area, get to higher ground immediately."
• "Obey evacuation orders: if told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances."
• "Practice electrical safety: don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises – get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!"
• "Avoid floodwaters: don't walk through floodwaters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet."
• "If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown!"
• "Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc."
• "A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles."
"With the ground already saturated due to rains over the weekend, the additional rain expected this week will cause problems," Lewis said. — Adam Lewis, BCSO
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