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Flooding, rains hammer Chambers County

Flooding, rains hammer Chambers County

By Alton Mitchell

Tropical moisture has been no stranger to the Chambers County area this season. As storms such as Harvey and Irma have left their mark on the region the latest Nate left a significant mark across the area on Sunday and Monday, by dropping torrential amounts of rain that left some parts of the local region underwater and opening up the area as a highway for tropical moisture to pour in from the Gulf of Mexico.

On Monday, many across the Chambers County area awoke to a Flash Flood Warning in parts of the county. Mostly near the cities of Valley and Lanett. The National Weather Service office in Birmingham issued the warning following two days of drenching rainfall across the area. According to the National Weather Service areas around Valley and Lanett received between 6” to 8” of rain in a two-day period between 7 a.m. October 7th and 7 a.m. October 9th.

The rainfall amounts in Chambers County rivaled those that fell along the Gulf Coast and Florida panhandle over the same period as moisture from Nate drenched the region Following Nate exiting the region a tropical airmass remained over the area. That airmass left the area open to tropical moisture pouring in from the Gulf of Mexico. Before daybreak on Monday showers and storms began trailing across the area adding more rain to the already saturated grounds.

The heavy and continuous rains on Monday proved to be too much for local drainage systems and caused rapid flash flooding. Some areas were hit harder than others. On Monday, the city of Lanett was hard hit by flooding in the downtown area of the community as the sowers roared through. The quick downpours overwhelmed drainage systems in the city and caused waters to rise in the downtown area of Lanett.

Emergency crews quickly responded and shut down many streets across the city of Lanett until waters receded and flood debris could be cleared from roadways. The main roadway through the city also hard hit as flood waters forced the closure of U.S. Highway 29 from the West Point City limits 1st Street. Crews from Lanett Police, Lanett Fire, and Lanett’s public works department sealed off roadways to keep motorist safe.

In Lanett South 8th Avenue was closed to traffic near Lanett High School as flood waters rose from a heavily swollen Moore’s Creek and washed over the roadway. The waters of the swollen creek pushed debris into the roadway and could be seen surrounding several parked vehicles in the area. Nearby wooded areas looked more like marshes as floodwaters overtook the grounds of the woodlands.

Lanett was not the only hard-hit area by the flooding. In the city of Valley flooding was visible in the area near city hall. Flooding closed Fob James Drive at U.S. Highway 29 as the normal small Moore’s Creek looked more like a raging Chattahoochee River as it raced across the roadways swallowing the nearby park in its wrath. The waters of the swollen creek could also be seen to have overtaken houses and signage in the area.

In Valley, the popular Chattahoochee Valley Railroad Trail was overtaken by flood waters. The swollen Moore’s Creek overtook parts of the trail and washed into the roadways underneath the former Langdale Mill in Valley. Valley Police and public works officials closely monitored the flooding situation at the mill and downtown area of Valley.

Flooding was also reported in other parts of the county. Osanippa Creek overtook several areas of farmland near the Lanett Airport and Interstate 85 in Chambers County. Flooding was also causing travel delays in Cusseta, where roads were closed following the flooding.

No injuries were reported during the course of the flooding on Monday and drier air is expected to move into the area for the remainder of the week allowing time to dry out following the early weeks flash flooding.