Last week was a reminder of how Tennessee weather can turn on a dime.
Days of rain caused flood conditions around the county Wednesday evening, Feb. 5, then on Friday, snow covered the county.
But the soft layer of snow was just a distraction from the devastation caused by the flooding, which was reminiscent of February last year.
According to E-911 Director Chris Masiongale, as of Thursday morning, Overton County had received about 5 inches of rain, making many roads impassable.
“We had about 30 that were flooded,” Masiongale told OCN. “We had one rescue in the Hardy’s Chapel Community down there close to Christian Community Road. We had some folks that couldn’t get in their homes.”
Mud slides also damaged roads, and saturated ground created a soft condition for uprooting trees.
But the damage was not restricted to roads. Swift currents moved through Dale Hollow Lake and pounded East Port Marina particularly hard.
Richard DeVry, owner of East Port Marina, told OCN, “Seems like these things always happen in the middle of the night. But about 11 o’clock last night (Wednesday, Feb. 5), the water got so high so fast, and lots of logs coming down both the east fork and the west fork, but on the west fork, those logs started piling up on the docks. They were coming down so fast, so it just started ripping everything apart. So, out of a hundred slips, we’ve got eight.”
The rest were scattered about Dale Hollow Lake. Other marina owners joined in the recovery of boats set loose from East Port.
In the city limits of Livingston, flooding in the Dillon Pond area again became a concern.
Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes issued a statement saying, “Good afternoon folks.. Just a quick update on where we are at with draining Dillon Pond to a controllable level.”
He credited State Representative John Mark Windle for requesting and receiving pumps from TEMA to help extract water from the flooded area.
“We have been pumping less than 48 hours and according to our measurements the reservoir has dropped 36 inches. Now, we still have a long way to go, giving the fact they are calling for 10 inches of rain next week, but it appears we are headed in the right direction. Standing ovation goes out to Wayne Peek and the Street Department that has managed the operations.
“Thanks again to everyone involved. Great team effort.”
Overton County Executive Ben Danner declared a State of Emergency on Friday, Feb. 7.
The proclamation states, “This declaration is based on the current state of the county/city in lieu of recent weather events, flooding being the most prevalent and the forecasted forthcoming weather from the National Weather Service of the possibility of up to 10 inches of rain over the next seven to ten days, which will tax the already saturated ground and cause additional flooding event within our county.
“This declaration will open avenues of state and federal assistance, which would not be available during normal circumstances. This measure is pre-emptive and will help Overton County to respond and recover in an expeditious manner.”
Executive Danner also urged, “If you see water in the road, please do not try to drive through it.”
And Masiongale echoed that warning and urged, “If you think it’s going to be flooded, plan ahead. Have supplies if you’re going to be flooded in, you know, if you can’t get out your road.”
He suggested keeping a supply of non-perishable food and necessary medication in case of a weather emergency.