Local waterways, from the Elk to numerous other area tributaries, rose above flood level last week as more than four inches of rain fell over two days, forcing a number of roadways closed and resulting in students missing two and a half days of school.
“All in all, we didn’t have any major issues,” said Doug Campbell, director of the Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency and Volunteer Fire and Rescue, noting that one water rescue occurred Thursday morning as a result of flooded roadways. That occurred where the Flint River crosses Mason Road in Flintville.
“The individual wasn’t hurt,” he continued. “Basically, his vehicle hydroplaned … When some help got there, he was on top of his vehicle.”
Campbell measured 4.26 inches of rainfall at his office in Fayetteville from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning.
“I know our highway department put in a lot of hours, getting barriers … It had just rained so much that many of our roads were just covered. TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) had also spent a great deal of time here, monitoring the situation on state highways, and in some areas, staying on site throughout the night.”
Portions of nearly 20 roads were closed due to flooding.
Even after the rain subsided, conditions in some areas worsened as the Tennessee Valley Authority began releasing water from Tims Ford Friday morning. The authority had not released water earlier in the week in an effort to control conditions, but after the rainfall stopped, they began generating at Tims Ford Dam.
Tims Ford began releasing 2,400 cubic feet of water per second Saturday morning, increasing that to over 3,800 Sunday and Monday.
The Elk River crested at 21.1 feet above its normal level — the level of the river in moderate flood stage is 20.7 feet.
The heavy rainfall came on top of a month that had already been extraordinarily wet. According to TVA, February 2018 saw rainfall at 224 percent of the month’s normal rainfall levels. Considering all that, March arrived like a lion.