Deadly Southern Floods Not Letting Up Yet

Some locations in the southeast have seen as much as 21 inches of rain.

BySam Champion and Sarah Netter via via logo
September 21, 2009, 8:18 PM

Sept. 22, 2009 — -- The rain seems never ending for the waterlogged residents in the South, where torrential downpours the last several days have trapped some people in their homes and killed others.

Georgia officials found a ninth storm victim who had been swept away from her car a day on Monday, the Associated Press reports. A 22-year-old Ala. man drowned beneath a pond's rain-soaked bank, while a Chattanooga, Tenn. man has been missing two days after attempting to swim the moving waters near his house.

"This is absolutely ridiculous," one Georgia woman exclaimed as she maneuvered her car through the high waters. "I have never seen anything like this in Atlanta before."

Just months ago the region suffered from a massive, two-year drought that left rivers and lakes more than a dozen feet below average. Now some locations have seen as much as 21 inches of rain from storms stretching from Tennessee to Georgia to North Carolina.

Nine people have been killed so far, and six others have been reported missing. Among those killed was a 2-year-old, who was swept out of his father's arms in a rushing current, in Georgia's Caroll County. His body was later recovered downstream.

And friends say 27-year-old Delena Weathers was in her car talking to a friend when the water struck and swept her away. She was one of several who had been trapped as their cars washed off the road.

"The last thing we heard, she was floating away," Weathers' friend said.

More than 1,500 residents were quickly evacuated after rising waters breached a levee in Trion, Ga., and hundreds more are dealing with backyards that have disappeared under the water from overflowing rivers and dams.

And the water is cold -- many of the people who have been pulled from the floodwaters have hypothermia.

Six Flags Over Georgia is also now under water. In some places portions of the roller coaster tracks have disappeared under brown, murky water.

Residents Hoping for a Break From the Rain

Meteorologists said the rain is caused by a slow-moving storm that's brought both moisture and southerly winds form the Gulf of Mexico, adding to a phenomenon known as "training" in which rain-laden thunderstorms move repeatedly over the same area.

It's been called by some a 100-year storm. Many schools remain closed and in some areas, people are being asked to stay home from work.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today that several thousand people are without power. The town of Hiram in Paulding County is completely dark, the paper reported, which has knocked out well water pumps that service city residents.

Floodwaters are not expected to start receding until later this week.

While the region has been devastated, many are thankful to have been spared the worst.

"The treasures are my husband and my children, and they're safe," one woman said from her home. "And this other stuff is nice but 'stuff.' This car is nice, but it's stuff, and it can all be replaced."

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