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Heavy rains trigger ‘terrible’ flooding across Northwest Georgia

Fire and rescue personnel in Chattooga County were “slammed” Sunday responding to emergencies from record flooding.

“Summerville, Trion, and Lyerly were hit the hardest” said John King, fire chief of the Gore Fire Department in a phone interview. “Most departments throughout the entire county have been responding into Summerville, Lyerly and Trion.”

The cities of LaFayette, Mount Carmel, and Center Post were included in a Walker County flash flood warning, as was a sliver of northwest Chattooga County.

A Chattooga County flash flood warning for an area east of Trion and Summerville that includes Holland is in effect until 5 p.m., along with a flash flood warning that includes Menlo, Trion, Summerville, and Lyerly.

The warnings say to avoid walking or driving through flood waters, and to move immediately to higher ground.

Citing a satellite map showing a large storm sweeping northeast towards Chattooga County, NWS Atlanta warned residents just after 3 p.m. on social media: “AVOID ALL NON-EMERGENCY TRAVEL! Another round of torrential rainfall is moving in. We hope and pray that this round will not be as extreme, please prepare for the worst. Do not sightsee or attempt to save property. Stay or get to a safe place!”

Sunday afternoon, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Chattooga and Floyd Counties on social media. A state of emergency gives coordinating power of first responders to the state of Georgia and makes available state and federal resources.

King said first responders are “slammed” and the department’s swift water team has been pretty busy in and around the cities of Chattooga County.

“There have been a lot of cars with people trapped in them from floods, and a lot of people with their houses flooded,” King said. “Downtown Summerville is a mess, it’s been terrible.”

According to its Facebook page, the Gore Fire Department is a 100% volunteer organization.

Summerville Mayor Harry Harvey and the Chattooga County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment.

On its website, NWS’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Services said water levels will cover Rome Boulevard and approach The Summerville Times building. In Trion, the Mount Vernon Mills buildings, homes on First and Second Streets near the levee, and residences on Park Avenue and Dalton and Cooper Streets “are flooded with 5 to 8 feet of water.”

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