While parts of Cherokee County continued to brace for the effects of heavy rainfall Thursday, a flash flood warning was canceled as the Etowah River began to retreat from high flood levels.
The National Weather Service canceled a flood warning for the Etowah River on Thursday at about 4:30 p.m., after the river’s water level continuously fell throughout the day, but a flash flood watch remained in effect until late Thursday night.
The National Weather service reported just before 4 p.m. that widespread rainfall of up to an inch was possible through this morning, with the potential for higher amounts in some areas, which may cause minor flooding. The weather service warned that wind gusts and lightning Thursday night were also a risk.
Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency Director Robby Westbrook said the northeastern part of the county had received the most rainfall.
“Five to 10 inches fell in less than six hours,” Westbrook said. “During (Wednesday) night runoff from this rain caused the Etowah River at Canton to crest well above flood stage. In fact, the Etowah River went from 4 feet to 24.6 feet in about 16 hours.”
Flood stage for the Etowah River near Canton at Waleska Street is 16 feet, and the water level had dropped to 16.1 feet at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, and continued to fall, according to a report from the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management.
Westbrook said the quick rise of the river above flood stage caused flooding of woodland areas, parks, streets and parking lots along the river.
“(On Wednesday) Roads and Bridges departments for the county and cities continued to evaluate damage and make repairs,” Westbrook said. “No injuries have been reported during this event.”
The weather service reported anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of rain fell in north Georgia on Wednesday morning, with some isolated areas seeing as much as 10 inches. On Thursday, parts of north Georgia saw another 2 to 3 inches of rainfall.
The National Weather Service cautioned that, due to the saturated soil, there is a higher potential for flash flooding, downed trees and mudslides on steep terrain.
City of Canton Utilities Manager David Hatabian said Canton’s water department hadn’t had any problems with water or sewer utilities during the flooding.
“We actually have done very well at the waste water plant,” Hatabian said. “As far as the water goes, we were preparing last night (for the heavy rainfall) … we shut the pumps down so we weren’t pulling in any contaminated river water.”
On Wednesday, significant flooding happened primarily in Ball Ground, Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Tim Cavender said.
“Most of the flooding that I saw (Wednesday) was off Conns Creek Road. There was a mud slide on Conns Creek that blocked the road for some time until Road and Bridges could open it back for traffic,” Cavender said. “Sperin Road, off Conns Creek, was closed due to flooding and trees across the road.”
The city of Canton advised that both Heritage and Boling Parks in Canton were closed Thursday due to flooding.