Flood warning issued for Alcoa, Blount, Maryville; several roads closed in Townsend, Walland area; county closes schools
From Staff and Wire Reports
Some Townsend residents were advised to evacuate Monday evening as Little River rose out of its banks due to near-constant rainfall throughout the day.
The National Weather Service in Morristown has issued a flood warning for urban areas and small streams in Blount County, including Alcoa and Maryville, until 8:15 a.m. Earlier this morning, flooding was reported across parts of the county, especially near Little River. Local law enforcement reports several roadways are closed near Townsend and Walland.
Schools will be closed today due to flooding.
Townsend Fire Chief Don Stallions said no one was ordered to evacuate, but people in areas along the river and its tributaries were advised it could be difficult to get them out quickly if they were trapped behind high water.
Stallions said he knew of a couple of families living along Little River on Dark Island off Carnes Road and Cedar Creek who had decided to ride out the storm.
The Blount County Chapter of the American Red Cross opened a shelter at Tuckaleechee United Methodist Church. At least a couple of people stayed there for at least a time during the evening, Stallions said.
“The river is up significantly, but it seems to have leveled off. We’ve got a good handle on it right now,” Stallions said at 10:30 p.m. “Right now there’s not much rain falling. But it depends on what happens in the (Great Smoky Mountains National) Park. If both prongs of Little River get flowing high at the same time, that’s when we have a problem.”
Firefighters warned campgrounds about the potential for flooding and helped shut down propane tanks near the river.
There was flooding on Old Walland Highway south of the old Wilson Bridge.
Little River started to rise significantly about 6:30-7:30 p.m. and leveled off about 9:30 p.m., Stallions said.
The fire department, along with Townsend Fire Department and Blount Emergency Management Agency, monitored the situation Monday evening and planned to remain through this morning.
Downpours of rain made for some uncomfortable conditions throughout Blount County and the surrounding area Monday, and it may not get any better today, according to the National Weather Service in Morristown.
The weather service estimated 1¾ inches of rain had fallen Monday in Maryville and northern Blount County, with Knoxville receiving 1 inch for the day, according to radar.
Don’t look for a whole lot of relief from the rain today, according to Weather Service meteorologist Jerry Hevrdeys. There is a 100 percent chance for more precipitation, and a 90 percent chance for it to continue into tonight.
However, there may be a break on Wednesday with some drying out during the day and evening. But Thursday, Hevrdeys said the rain may make a comeback, thanks to another high-powered system coming in. The rain should be gone by Friday, he said.
Today’s highs will be in upper 40s, with lows in lower 40s. Wednesday’s highs are predicted to be in the lower 50s, with lows in the lower to mid-30s. Thursday’s and Friday’s highs should be in the mid-40s, with lows in the 20s, with some warming up by Saturday with highs in the lower 50s, with lows in the lower 30s.
“These will be more seasonal temperatures,” Hevrdeys said.
East Tennessee was under a flood watch at dawn Monday, and there was a winter weather advisory posted for West Tennessee. No major flooding was reported, however.
Heavy rain washed away at least one rural road, causing minor evacuations, and flooding has closed some schools. No deaths or injuries were reported.
In Middle Tennessee, officials evacuated residents of a mobile home park in Waverly Sunday as water rose.