Heavy rains kill seven in Georgia

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:27 PM GMT on September 22, 2009

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Very heavy rains exceeding fifteen inches have soaked the Atlanta, Georgia region over the past two days, triggering widespread major flooding. Record flood levels have been observed on seven rivers and creeks in the Atlanta area, breaking records that had been set as long ago as 1919. In one case, the new flood record (for Utoy Creek near Atlanta), was more that ten feet above the previous record, with the creek still rising. The Chattahoochee River was one of the rivers that rose to record levels, and flood waters from the Chattahoochee crested over the I-285 bridge in western Atlanta, forcing closure of the expressway. At least seven people have been killed, according to ajc.com, with at least six people still missing.


Figure 1. Radar estimated rainfall for the Atlanta, Georgia region ending on September 22. More than 15 inches (white colors) had fallen in and around Atlanta.

A list of the records set so far:

Noonday Creek near Woodstock 19.66 ft 21/530 PM, old record 16.30 ft (07/11/2005)

Nickajack Creek at Mableton 19.30 ft 22/215 am, old record 16.60 ft (07/11/2005)

North Fork Peachtree Creek at Atlanta 18.07 ft 21/715 PM, old record 17.70 ft (09/16/2004)

Utoy Creek near Atlanta 27.04 ft 22/715 am, old record 16.86 ft (05/06/2003)...still rising

Chattahoochee River at Whitesburg 29.58 ft 21/1015 PM, old record 29.11 ft (12/11/1919)

Suwanee Creek at Suwanee 14.30 ft 21/645 PM, old record 12.04 ft (10/05/1996)

Yellow River at Lithonia 25.50 ft 22/515 am, old record 17.53 ft (05/07/2003)... nearly steady

Yellow River near Conyers 20.80 ft 22/730 am, old record 16.36 ft (07/08/2005) below Milstead...still rising

Chattahoochee River at Franklin 28.71 ft 22/715 am, old record 28.40 ft (12/15/1919)...still rising

The strong flow of moist air from the southeast that fueled the heavy rains has diminished today, and no widespread heavy rains will affect northern Georgia over the next few days. However, there will be some scattered thunderstorms in the region the next two days that will dump heavy downpours over local areas, and these thunderstorms will keep flood waters from receding much along some flooded rivers and creeks. It is possible that some additional moisture from the remains of Hurricane Fred will affect northern Georgia and South Carolina Wednesday and Thursday, boosting rainfall totals from these scattered thunderstorms.


Figure 2. AVHRR visible satellite image of Hurricane Hugo taken on September 22, 1989. Hugo was over Ohio at this time, and had finally been declared extratropical.

Twenty years ago today
Hurricane Hugo plowed through the center of South Carolina on September 22, 1989, reaching the North Carolina border 140 miles inland by 8am EDT. Amazingly, Hugo remained at hurricane strength for its entire passage through South Carolina--a full eight hours. The hurricane caused massive damage to forests, buildings, and power lines along the way, killing thirteen South Carolinans in total. Charlotte, North Carolina, over 200 miles inland, and a place of refuge for many South Carolinans that fled the storm, received sustained winds of 69 mph from Hugo--just below the 74-mph threshold of hurricane strength. Hugo turned northwards and roared through Virginia, where it killed six people, then into West Virginia and Ohio, where it was finally declared extratropical at 2pm EDT on the 22nd. The hurricane claimed its final victim near Buffalo, New York, when winds from Hugo toppled a tree onto a motorist.

In all, Hugo did $7 billion in damage to the continental U.S., and $10 billion over its entire path ($17.6 billion in 2009 dollars), making it the most costly hurricane ever at that time. The final death toll was 56.


Figure 3. Maximum wind gusts recorded from Hurricane Hugo of 1989. Wind gusts in excess of 80 mph (green hatched areas) were recorded all the way to the North Carolina border, 140 miles inland. Image credit: National Hurricane Center.

There are no threat areas in the Atlantic to discuss today, and none of our reliable computer models are forecasting tropical storm development over the next seven days.

Jeff Masters

Suwanee Creek Greenway flooding (takabanana)
Suwanee Creek Greenway flooding

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Quoting GulfPilot:
Yesterday's torrential rain in GA was really something, but I had an interesting experience with it.

I live in Valdosta, in South Georgia. I left my house to pick up my son at daycare about 9 miles away and hit rain that was causing near zero visibility in its intensity. Street flooding was prevalent on the entire route. Once I picked up my son, we headed back to the house where I was surprised to note that not a single drop of rain had fallen! This was a tremendously localized event here in South GA. I had expected to find my yard flooded (as it does in all heavy rain here), but as I stated... not a drop. Wierd.


A really strange event happened to me about a few years back. Same zero visibility rain, I was driving back home on the highway and the most torrential downpour hit my car. I had to slow down to 20 mph on the highway! I had to put the hazards on as did others because I could barley see anything but the hazards of other cars. The rain continued as I got off but a few seconds later it stopped. Then I went home and as I got out of the car and about halfway to the house the rain came roaring in. I was nearly soaked from running half way from my car to the house.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3763
Quoting GulfPilot:
Yesterday's torrential rain in GA was really something, but I had an interesting experience with it.

I live in Valdosta, in South Georgia. I left my house to pick up my son at daycare about 9 miles away and hit rain that was causing near zero visibility in its intensity. Street flooding was prevalent on the entire route. Once I picked up my son, we headed back to the house where I was surprised to note that not a single drop of rain had fallen! This was a tremendously localized event here in South GA. I had expected to find my yard flooded (as it does in all heavy rain here), but as I stated... not a drop. Wierd.



that is pretty bizzare
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Yesterday's torrential rain in GA was really something, but I had an interesting experience with it.

I live in Valdosta, in South Georgia. I left my house to pick up my son at daycare about 9 miles away and hit rain that was causing near zero visibility in its intensity. Street flooding was prevalent on the entire route. Once I picked up my son, we headed back to the house where I was surprised to note that not a single drop of rain had fallen! This was a tremendously localized event here in South GA. I had expected to find my yard flooded (as it does in all heavy rain here), but as I stated... not a drop. Wierd.
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Quoting Grothar:
I have written to some of you personally that I shall be leaving. For those of you to whom I have not written, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed this blog and shall miss you. I might return, but probably not very soon. I may post once more this evening for the "late lurkers". You have brought me a lot of laughs and some interesting information in a field in which I knew very little. If I may, allow me leave you with a very small gift of how I feel.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

I thank you for that! Grothar
Take care Grothar it's been a pleasure Be safe, Hope to see You in the future
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Quoting mikatnight:
Yeah guys, I actually got that; tryin to be funny. The paper actually said "cricket-ball size hail", but it didn't serve the purpose of my joke. (Though I suppose I could've commented on the ridiculousness of those crazy Australians making balls out of crickets – and where are the animal rights activists!!!???)


haha gotcha :P
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting ALCoastGambler:
anybody know how much rainfall Alpharetta, GA has had. Brother-in-law is from there and is out of town and wants to know? TIA

Link to NWS Peachtree City, GA! Many links to check the Atlanta Metro area weather.
Link
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I am here in Gwinnett county Georgia and it is pretty bad. Luckily I have no flood damage but within a mile of my house it's very flooded and there was a fatality.

Right now the sun is peaking through so thank God for that. I have never seen the rain come down so hard and so fast as it did through the night on Sunday.

The cleanup is going to be huge as whole subdivisons are under water in various places around Atlanta.

Be safe!

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Yeah guys, I actually got that; tryin to be funny. The paper actually said "cricket-ball size hail", but it didn't serve the purpose of my joke. (Though I suppose I could've commented on the ridiculousness of those crazy Australians making balls out of crickets – and where are the animal rights activists!!!???)
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting ALCoastGambler:
anybody know how much rainfall Alpharetta, GA has had. Brother-in-law is from there and is out of town and wants to know? TIA


From the map above it looks like they are in the 10 to 12 inch range.
Quoting BurnedAfterPosting:


uh oh you posted something about the tropics lol

Also looking by Panama, something looks to be brewing down there


haha uh oh :0

Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
anybody know how much rainfall Alpharetta, GA has had. Brother-in-law is from there and is out of town and wants to know? TIA
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Quoting tornadodude:


uh oh you posted something about the tropics lol

Also looking by Panama, something looks to be brewing down there
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I misspelled either. Used an “a” instead of an “i”. Damn. The blog is ruined now...
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting mikatnight:


Gee Wiz Aussie - you folks piss off the nature gods down there? Also, I love the "cricket-sized hail". Took me a sec to get that. (Why, eather they didn't have very large hailstones, or the bugs down there are really big - lol)


FYI, I couldn't post the image but a cricket ball is close to baseball size!! They weigh about 5.5OZ!! Big hailsones!!

For men's cricket, the ball must weigh between 5.5 and 5.75 ounces (155.9 and 163.0 g) and measure between 8 13/16 and 9 in (224 and 229 mm) in circumference. Balls used in women's and youth matches are slightly smaller.
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Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting mikatnight:


Gee Wiz Aussie - you folks piss off the nature gods down there? Also, I love the "cricket-sized hail". Took me a sec to get that. (Why, eather they didn't have very large hailstones, or the bugs down there are really big - lol)


I think it's referring to the game cricket :P
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting AussieStorm:

Actually the switch between winter and summer is when the weather gets crazy here.

Just like the US!! At least you don't have between 300-800 tornadoes a year there!
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Well what a day we had today


Gee Wiz Aussie - you folks piss off the nature gods down there? Also, I love the "cricket-sized hail". Took me a sec to get that. (Why, eather they didn't have very large hailstones, or the bugs down there are really big - lol)
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Quoting Bordonaro:

Severe weather unfortunatley happens in every continent, time zone and world region! All compliments of our atmosphere and the El Nino!!

Stay safe, hopefully the weather will simmer down in Australia soon!!

Actually the switch between winter and summer is when the weather gets crazy here.
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Well rain chances for Tallahassee are 20-40% this week, which is good.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3763
Looks good for Texas

Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Quoting AussieStorm:
Good Evening/Morning all.
Well what a day we had today.
Started with this London at night? No, it's Broken Hill ... at 3.40pm
and we also had this .... Giant hailstones as wild weather hits
Also This evening two small earthquakes hit Victoria's Mornington Peninsula region at about 6.20pm (AEST), Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepson said.

They recorded magnitudes of 3.0 and 2.6, with the epicentre about 25km south of Frankston Vic.
Also this ...Crews battle blazes across Queensland
and tomorrow we will have this....NSW, ACT told to brace for wild weather
Cheers AussieStorm

Severe weather unfortunatley happens in every continent, time zone and world region! All compliments of our atmosphere and the El Nino!!

Stay safe, hopefully the weather will simmer down in Australia soon!!
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Autumn Begins at 5:18 PM EDT.

The Autumnal Equinox occurs today at 5:18 PM EDT. Today the sun will be across the Equator, giving the entire Earth approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night (equinox is derived from the Latin words for equal night). At Indianapolis, sunrise on the 22nd is at 7:33 AM and sunset is at 7:42 PM. The Autumnal Equinox falls approximately on September 23 of each year. This year it falls late in the day of the 22nd.

Below is a picture which shows the Earth's orbit around the sun and the approximate dates of the solstices and equinoxes. (Image courtesy of NWS Jetstream)



from NWS Indianapolis
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
The storm in Atlanta is really something. Lake Allatoona NW of Atlanta rose a stunning 8.5 feet, the Corps of Engineers reported. The lake is 12,010 Acres or 18.8 sq miles in size.


gauge at Lake Allatoona, AL

Information on Lake Allatoona
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I hope this is not a sign of things to come for the southwest.
Member Since: September 6, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 3763
Ok, Reporting in from Marietta here, Personally, we mostly dodged a bullet, with some basement flooding that we managed to get most of the stuff off the floor and keep to a manageable level. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who weren't so lucky and lost either property or their lives. Anyone traveling through the Atlanta area, please check ahead on the status of roads, as there are hundreds of them closed, including several interstates in spots.

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Quoting AussieStorm:
Good Evening/Morning all.
Well what a day we had today.
Started with this London at night? No, it's Broken Hill ... at 3.40pm
and we also had this .... Giant hailstones as wild weather hits
Also This evening two small earthquakes hit Victoria's Mornington Peninsula region at about 6.20pm (AEST), Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepson said.

They recorded magnitudes of 3.0 and 2.6, with the epicentre about 25km south of Frankston Vic.
Also this ...Crews battle blazes across Queensland
and tomorrow we will have this....NSW, ACT told to brace for wild weather
Cheers AussieStorm


pretty busy down there, good morning ha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Good Evening/Morning all.
Well what a day we had today.
Started with this London at night? No, it's Broken Hill ... at 3.40pm
and we also had this .... Giant hailstones as wild weather hits
Also This evening two small earthquakes hit Victoria's Mornington Peninsula region at about 6.20pm (AEST), Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepson said.

They recorded magnitudes of 3.0 and 2.6, with the epicentre about 25km south of Frankston Vic.
Also this ...Crews battle blazes across Queensland
and tomorrow we will have this....NSW, ACT told to brace for wild weather
Cheers AussieStorm
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RTLSNK- Glad to see that you are doing well
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
hello!!
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Take care Grothar! Hope you stay safe, and thanks for your encouragement!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Snake - Glad you are safe!
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Quoting Orcasystems:
I hope RTLSNK and family are OK.
I cannot even imagine what 15" of rain in two days would be like. Up here and really bad rainstorm might drop 2 or 3 inches.


Hey Orca, thanks for thinking of us, we are ok, we live in the NW section of Macon which is higher in elevation than the downtown area.

The Ocmulgee River which runs by the downtown section of Macon was at 19.6 feet this morning at 6:00 AM. Flood stage is 18 feet. The flood warning said that the river will crest at 22 feet by Wed night and not go below flood stage until Saturday.

We had 5.18 inches of rain here in Macon yesterday which is adding to the water coming down from the areas north of us.

The city moved the water plant to a higher area and built flood gates on the river after TS Alberto dropped 24 inches of rain in 1994. The system is getting tested for sure today.
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Quoting Grothar:
I have written to some of you personally that I shall be leaving. For those of you to whom I have not written, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed this blog and shall miss you. I might return, but probably not very soon. I may post once more this evening for the "late lurkers". You have brought me a lot of laughs and some interesting information in a field in which I knew very little. If I may, allow me leave you with a very small gift of how I feel.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

I thank you for that! Grothar


Sorry to see you go, I have enjoyed your posts this season. All the best to you in your future!
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Grothar you're so sweet. Good luck buddy.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
I have written to some of you personally that I shall be leaving. For those of you to whom I have not written, I just want to say how much I have enjoyed this blog and shall miss you. I might return, but probably not very soon. I may post once more this evening for the "late lurkers". You have brought me a lot of laughs and some interesting information in a field in which I knew very little. If I may, allow me leave you with a very small gift of how I feel.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.

I thank you for that! Grothar
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Orcasystems:
Maybe we should have gotten Weather 456 to write about the Texas drought earlier.. here is the map from his Blog



Here is the latest NEXRAD pictures



Looks like the rain is where it needs to be.


Uh oh. Looks like Weather456 might be a (gulp) Rain God...
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
Good morning guys
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8360
Maybe we should have gotten Weather 456 to write about the Texas drought earlier.. here is the map from his Blog



Here is the latest NEXRAD pictures



Looks like the rain is where it needs to be.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
I'm just northwest of Atlanta and have gotten 14 inches of rain in the last 2 days! It's really bad out there with many roads and bridges washed out or covered in water
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Quoting IKE:


I'm talking about how we all(me included), follow blobs that are hundreds or thousands of miles from anyone, while ignoring what's going on over land masses.


Reckon we all know the answer to that though Ike. It’s the power of a hurricane that grips everyone. The potential for, if not the actual resulting in, cataclysmic destruction. The Atlanta Flood will be remembered, but it won’t be feared – there is no name to haunt survivors, and there was no time to quiver at its approach.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052
All this flooding is hampering with my plans to drive up to Chattanooga to visit brother.... he says there is serious flooding all around Chatt.
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I've seen lots of flooding, but still nothing compares to what I saw in the Bandera County area in 2002. 37 inches of rain in 3 days. Took Medina Lake from 18-20 feet below full pool to coming within a foot of overtopping and toppling the dam in a matter of hours.
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58. IKE
Quoting Orcasystems:


ROFLMAO, and when did you start paying attention and doing what people have told you on here...

We are to old to learn new tricks...umm I mean you are to old to learn new tricks.


LOL....hey, I'm still young at heart!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
This flooding in the SE reminds me of the '79, '94, and Allison floods in SE Texas. Thoughts/prayers for all having to deal with this.
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Quoting IKE:


I remember earlier in the season I got gripped at on here by hurricaneseason2006 for talking about my local weather, telling me it wasn't related to the tropics.


ROFLMAO, and when did you start paying attention and doing what people have told you on here...

We are to old to learn new tricks...umm I mean you are to old to learn new tricks.
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Good Morning Dr. Masters and the WU blogging crew!! Thanks Dr. Masters for the morning update!!

Flooding situation is just awful in Georgia!! My prayers goes out for the families effected that they'll overcome this!! I can remember when Georgia was gripped by one of their worst droughts in history, now they're experiencing their 150 year flood! Pictures of Atlanta, GA are all over CNN.COM this morning!!

I'm here in mid-state, Nashville, TN! This is their 5TH wettest September on record here, with over 8.2" of rain so far for the month! Rainfall totals here in a few areas have topped 10" in 7 days! All compliments of the "Old TX L" from earlier in the month! Goes to prove that we don't need a named tropical system to create weather havoc!! The Old TX L's associated moisture finally exited TN on 9-20. Thankfully flooding has not been too severe in W TN, but E TN, near Chattanooga, things are bad! That area has had almost as much rain as the Atlanta Metro area. To add insult to injury here in TN, a strong H5 shortwave is going to interject a strong SW flow and more heavy rains in parts of TN!

On a brighter note, long range forecasts for the SE US shows a STRONG early fall cold front expected early next week!!

Everyone have a great day, Bordonaro


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54. IKE
Quoting Beachfoxx:
Hey Ike,

The flooding from Alberto always comes to mind... the rains that fell over GA/AL flooded many areas, then the rivers flowed south into Choctaw. Bay turning the Bay and the GOM red. AL/GA had 100's of homes under water.


I remember that. Yeah, it was bad.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
amazing convention;
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52. IKE
Quoting Orcasystems:


It must be because I am further away... when ever I bring up the NEXRAD overlay... or see some solid red/green on the normal weather over the states.. I include it as a AOI. I consider the Tropics any place south of here.


I remember earlier in the season I got gripped at on here by hurricaneseason2006 for talking about my local weather, telling me it wasn't related to the tropics.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Orcasystems:


It must be because I am further away... I consider the Tropics any place south of here.


lol
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 3052

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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