August 2011 went into the books as the driest in recorded history, creating a dangerous scenario for firefighters who have had to keep ahead of windswept brush fires.
The source of the rain expected to continue to fall at least through Tuesday is a tropical depression tagged Lee, which never became a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Depression Lee continues to move slowly from the southwest to the northeast at a snail’s pace. At one point, Lee was only moving at 2 mph.
Lee was downgraded today, from a tropical storm which dumped over a foot of rain in Louisiana and across the lower South, to a tropical depression.
At Prospect Elementary School, the weather station indicated 2.73 inches of rain had fallen.
“The rain reportedly began falling in Bradley County just after 4 a.m. today and just over four hours later, Prospect had received 2.73 inches of rainfall while Charleston city had recorded a little over 1 1/4-inches,” said Rusty Boling, a 911 dispatcher and certified weather spotter as well as a Ham Radio operator.
Boling said from the Cleveland-Bradley 911 Center side of the weather, “We have had only two reports of trees and limbs down in Bradley County.”
Boling indicated a tree down in the area of Moore Road, just off Eureka Road in northwest Bradley County, and one down in the southwestern portion of the county near White Oak Road.
Today’s forecast is simple. Rain, heavy at times and a 100 percent “chance” of it, will put a damper on the last official holiday of the summer. But, according to social media’s Facebook, residents who use the social site seem relieved that the heat which has blasted Bradley County this summer has at least been temporarily squelched by the much-needed rain.
Jimmy Smith, a Bradley County detective posted on his Facebook page, “This is the first Labor Day I can remember when people were happy it is raining.”
John Pippenger, a Cleveland Public Works employee, said, “It is a beautiful day.”
Teresa Norris Hyde is patiently awaiting a NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Her post on Facebook indicated she was having a “great time with friends and at least we got to see two of three races, but looking forward to Tuesday,” when NASCAR racing is scheduled to resume.
A Flash Flood Watch was issued by National Weather Service forecasters and warning meteorologists.
According to NWS, heavy rainfall and flash flooding are possible today through Tuesday evening. An approaching cold front will collide with abundant moisture from remnants of the tropical storm and depression.
In spite of this morning’s heavy rainfall, Lee has not really entered the picture in Bradley County, but should by noon today, officials say. NWS forecasters said the total amount of rainfall during the next two days could equal 6 to 8 inches.
Street flooding and ponding as well as stream advisories have been posted.
One significant note was the fact that since the state and region have been so dry and some of the land stripped of vegetation such as trees and underbrush due to April’s tornadoes, there is a possibility of mudslides.
“The ground is dry and cracked, but it won’t be able to take on all the water at the rate it will fall today and tomorrow,” said Tim Troutman, NWS Warning Coordinator meteorologist.
“This poses a threat for trees falling and with the damage from recent tornadoes, the possibility of mudslide events,” he added.
Troutman warned residents who live near streams to watch for quickly rising waters and motorists who travel to be aware of ponding or flooding on roadways.
“Turn around. Don’t Drown,” he said, repeating the safety slogan.