The latest forecast on the Etowah River near Canton issued late this afternoon called for a crest of near 22 feet, however as of 9:00 p.m., the river was near 22 feet and continues to rise. The Weather Service now thinks the river will crest near 23 feet, which will push the river into moderate flooding.
The 23 feet crest is expected around 2:00 AM.
By Michelle Babcock
Flooding detoured school bus routes and closed roads and parks Wednesday in parts of Cherokee County after heavy rains moved through during the morning.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for urban areas and streams in Cherokee County until 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night, and for the Etowah River near Canton indefinitely, after eastern Cherokee County saw 5 to 10 inches of rainfall.
Although more rain was predicted early Wednesday evening, as of 5 p.m., all roads had been cleared and re-opened, according to Cherokee County Roads and Bridges Director Cliff Harden.
The National Weather Service issued a significant weather advisory for heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 35 miles-per-hour until 5:45 p.m., and said another inch of rain was possible.
The weather service advised that due to high rain totals and the saturated ground, trees could fall at lower-than-typical wind gusts as low as 30 miles per hour.
Most of the significant flooding Wednesday happened in Ball Ground, Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Tim Cavender said.
“Most of the flooding that I saw today 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 because of flooding and trees across the road.”
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning “until further notice” for the Etowah River near eastern Canton at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, and said the river was almost at flood stage and continuing to rise rapidly.
“There was also major flooding due to the Etowah River running over its banks,” Cavender said. “Some of the homes were in danger of rising flood waters, too.”
The Etowah River flood stage is 17 feet, and at 2:45 p.m. the river was at 16.5 feet and rising rapidly, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service forecasted the Etowah River to rise to almost 19 feet by midnight, and predicted the river to fall below flood stage Thursday morning.
On Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported minor flooding in woodlands and fields along the Etowah River east of Canton near the Interstate 575 bridge, and said some areas off of Riverstone Parkway and on Old Ball Ground Highway were flooded with up to two feet of water.
Flash flooding and downed trees that led to road closures in the Ball Ground and Free Home areas that impacted Cherokee County School District bus transportation.
The city of Canton also announced that Boling Park and Heritage Park would be closed as a precautionary measure.
Cherokee County School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said that the longest bus delays were about 20 to 30 minutes, and said the delays affected mostly students who attend Creekview High School or Creekland Middle School and live in the Ball Ground area.
“Not all the Creekland and Creekview students (saw bus delays), just really the ones who live in the Ball Ground area because we had to take a different route than we normally would to get them home,” Jacoby said.
“There are some families in the Conns Creek area that could not have bus transportation provided to them (Wednesday) afternoon because there was no way to get student to those homes because of the flooding and trees that were down.”
Jacoby said that in cases where buses could not get students home Wednesday, the principals of their schools got in touch with the students’ parents, who then picked them up from their school.