One of 16 Tennessee counties to have declared local States of Emergency, Lincoln County remains in cleanup and recovery mode this week after the wettest February on record and the eighth worst flood on the books.
And, according to forecasters, another waterlogged month can be expected.
Still, the county is forging ahead in the wake of what is hopefully the worst of it, wasting no time in pinpointing trouble spots and going to work on repairs to roadways damaged in the flood and by runoff prevalent in our hilly terrain. Even before the county’s swollen tributaries began to recede, county road crews were out making repairs, and in the days since, the work has not let up.
Statewide, the flooding that swamped the state from east to west killed four people, washed out homes, buried two stretches of interstate highway under tons of mud and rock, and led to a statewide declaration of emergency that remains in place this week. While 16 counties issued declarations, 64 counties are indicating some degree of impact.
Even though Lincoln County was heavily impacted, it escaped any life-threatening harm. Authorities said that by and large, residents heeded warnings, staying off flooded roads and highways, and aside from damage to local rights-of-way, the county was fortunate.
“To my knowledge, no water actually got into anyone’s homes,” said Doug Campbell, who heads the local Emergency Management Agency, on Thursday. “It did, however, reach underpinning, central units and duct work, garages and storage buildings.”
Impact on local farmers is also being assessed by local and state agriculture officials. While there haven’t been reports here of livestock losses, farmers have experienced crop losses due to excessive rainfall and flooding, according to officials.
EMA, along with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, are continuing to assess damages across the county. If you have damage that you haven’t reported, contact the local agency, either at 931-438-1575, via email to email@example.com, or by posting messages and/or pictures on its Facebook page at Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials are keeping tabs on 26 drinking-water systems, including Fayetteville Public Utilities’ water filtration plant which is located on the Elk River. However, officials said Monday there have been no problems in regard to FPU’s water supply here.
After a few more soggy days into and over this past weekend, rain is back in the forecast for this Thursday night, Friday and Saturday. As to whether the month holds another deluge, forecasters say it’s too early to tell.
For home and property cleanup help
A Crisis Cleanup Help Line is in place for Tennesseans who need help with either mucking out, debris removal, and home cleanup from the recent flooding through volunteer relief agencies.
The call is toll-free to 1-833-556-2476. The number is staffed 24/7 and will be available through March 15, according to Amy Miller, a coordinator with the national flood insurance program coordinator by TEMA and state Department of Military.
Callers should be ready to provide their name and contact information, and a brief description of their issue, to the relief agency representative who answers the hotline. If a relief agency representative is not available, callers can leave a message with their contact information to receive a return call.
The Crisis Cleanup Help Line is a coordinated effort to help Tennessee flood survivors between TEMA, Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Volunteer Tennessee and the Crisis Cleanup organization.
Other key points
Residents should monitor weather forecasts and updates on road conditions, and have multiple ways to receive weather updates and warnings, including NOAA weather radios, and mobile apps, such as ReadyTN (www.tn.gov/tema/ready-tn.html).
If you live in Tennessee and want to volunteer to help flood survivors, visit the Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (https://tnvoad.shutterfly.com/.
If you’d like to volunteer and live outside of Tennessee, visit the national site for Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (https://www.nvoad.org/.
I-24 eastbound is expected to remain closed at mile-marker 42, north of Nashville, until March 15. TDOT crews are working around the clock to remediate the mudslide there. State highway and interstate impacts are available on TDOT Smartway (https://smartway.tn.gov).
In addition to reporting damage to the local EMA, notify your insurance company. Take photos and document damages and repairs. If you make ay repairs yourself, keep receipts.