Heavy rains kill seven in Georgia

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

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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251. CJ5
There is so much talk about things other than the tropics, so I may have missed it.

Has there been any discussion about the area at around 8/43? It has slight 850mb vorticy, divergence and convergence, quick sat picked up on some weak signals and shear is relatively low in the area. Thoughs?
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Eastern CONUS

Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
35. watcher123 9:36 AM EDT on September 19, 2009
I'm still standing by major in South Florida, Major in panhandle. I'll explain why eventually.

269. watcher123 11:16 AM EDT on September 19, 2009
I still expect rapid intensification from Fred's remnants.

I certainly don't trust the NHC or the other experts on this storm. They've obviously been wrong all along. "It's gonna die...it's gonna die...it's not getting past 35w...its not getting past 40w...its gonna die..its gonna die..."

Well, here it is still, about to enter the most favourable environment since it first formed.

It has done nearly the opposite of what the experts said all along. I expect that Fred's remnants shall rapidly intensify in a dramatic and alarming fashion

Watcher I hope your views on religion and politics are a tad better than your weather predictions!
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The Atlanta WFO area last 7 day's worth of rainfall by radar estimate...hitting 20 inches!

...with more to come?

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The system Ike referred to earlier.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting TexasHurricane:
Homeless - Thanks for the update. :)

Hey Tex. I'll try again. :)


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Another slug of Gulf Juice is gonna run up and Neast later..into already flooded area's.

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Quoting CycloneOz:

When anyone ever asks me for an unknown number, I always reply "7."

ex: "How many games will Miami lose before they win one?"

Awww shucks. Now you've gone and made me cry.

And yet, the answer to life, the universe, and everything is surely 42.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 3052
241. IKE
watcher123...no one on here cares who you or I you voted for.

This is not a political blog.
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Each and every situation is different.

Absolutely correct!!!!
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I guess that's the last time the state prays for rain. Ask and ye' shall receive.

Ponder this, the flooding is a result of man, but not the CO2 result. In a city full of concrete, where else is the water to go?

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Quoting CycloneOz:


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There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 3052
Bloggers and poets and trolls, oh my!!! Bloggers and poets and trolls, oh my!!!

If anyone wants to debate religion or politics, for the sake of those who WANT TO DISCUSS WEATHER, please, E MAIL each other and let this blog be in PEACE!!!

The Tropics maybe quiet on the Atlantic side right now, but there is weather going on around the world, last time I checked!!
W TN rain totals compliments of the TX ULL!!

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3 killed, 5 missing in Southeast storms
Roads inundated as more rainfall threatens area

John Barry carried his dog, Ruby, to drier ground in Chattanooga, Tenn. Forecasters issued flood alerts across the Southeast; as much as 20 inches of rain fell on the Atlanta area.
(Angela Lewis/ Chattanooga Times Free Press via Associated Press)
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I wonder how many of those folks in the Atlanta area are going to have to learn the hard lesson regarding insurance and "rising water".
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Quoting Houstonian:
Watcher.. LOL... grow up!!

I dont normally respond to any of the ignorant crap that is always poted here.. but I would be remiss not to acknowledge your level of arrogance and ignorance..

lets start with the fact that you want to talk about POLITICS on a weather blog as a general indicator of initial ignorance...

The guy you voted for LOST, get over it. Quit being a racist and a sore loser, take your blinders off and realize that, weather you like it or not, our new president only wants whats best for our country..

Amen, I agree with you 100%

but yes most importantly, politics do not belong on this entire site, let alone this blog
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Quoting presslord:

In this case, we simply made a value judgement that focusing our efforts on one family would have greater...and more measurable impact...especially as our general focus is on marginalized populations...and Atlanta is a metropolitan area...

OK. Thanks for responding. I was just curious. I manage a utility service in my part of the world. I donate as much as I can here local relief organizations. It is always a tough decision for me to focus my efforts on individual needs or community needs. Each and every situation is different. Unfortunately, there is just never enough relief for everyone.
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Quoting IKE:
Politics should be off-limits on this blog.

All it ever leads to is problems.

Leads to the normal name calling to try to get the point across too. Debate is not an option for some people, because "I" am always right and "I" knows what is best for the world. Talk about hypocrisy.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
There once was a meteorologist
Who never intended for politics
To clog up his blog
Though he said with a shrug
I won’t ban ‘em except for off-topic pics.
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 3052
Quoting IKE:
Politics should be off-limits on this blog.

All it ever leads to is problems.
yep...i agree.

There is a multitude of political blogs here on WU...check the directory.
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Quoting IKE:
From the afternoon Tallahassee,FL. discussion...


North West loop
caution, big
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
209. IKE
Politics should be off-limits on this blog.

All it ever leads to is problems.
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Ha - ha - ha, Ho - ho - ho - And a couple of tra - la - las
That's how we laugh the day away, In the Merry Old Land of Oz!
Member Since: October 18, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 3052
Quoting WeatherStudent:
Muy buenas tardes, todo el mundo, excluyendo a PressLord, obviamente. Cheers, :).
A very good afternoon to you and the world, and Presslord....I cant exclude Press.
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Quoting presslord:

Very good afternoon, everyone, excluding PressLord, obviously. Cheers,:)
Glad I dont have to translate for you anymore Press...

Your Spanish is muy bien...
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201. IKE
Quoting CycloneOz:
Everything is wonderfully okay
There are "...no threat areas"..."to discuss today"
IKE seems a bit blue
As non-activity STATEMENTS hold true
No more names may be in play!!!

LOL...I'm hoping for that cool, dry, fall weather to reach me here in the Florida panhandle. Almost a certainty it's finally going to happen.
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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