Heavy rains continue to flood Lakeway Area

Flood waters rise above a walking bridge on Panther Creek in Hamblen County.

A flash flood watch remains in effect until 7 p.m. today as rains continue to drench the Lakeway Area.

According to the National Weather Service in Morristown, showers with moderate to heavy rain soaked the Lakeway Area beginning Monday morning. Flooding is a major concern, especially across the southern half of Tennessee, the East Tennessee Mountains and southwestern North Carolina.

A special weather statement from the NWS reported that periods of rain, some moderate to heavy, will continue to move across much of East Tennessee and southwest North Carolina as a slow moving boundary approaches the area. The main axis of heaviest rain will be along and south of Interstate 40. Rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches were possible this morning. This rainfall may lead to additional flooding across the area.

Areas of fog early this morning produced low visibilities across northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Motorists were urged to use extra caution while traveling this morning.

Another round of moderate to heavy rainfall is expected Wednesday night. Widespread amounts of 1-2 inches will be possible keeping rivers, creeks, and streams high and continuing to cause pockets of flooding.

Strong to severe thunderstorms may be possible Wednesday evening through early Thursday morning across the Cumberland Plateau and southeast Tennessee. The primary hazard will be localized damaging winds. High winds are expected across the mountains and foothills Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday morning.

Mark Nagi, community relations spokesman of the Region I Tennessee Department of Transportation office in Strawberry Plains said that the Lakeway Area was experiencing light to moderate rainfall.

“Forecasts show rain continuing until noon today and then East Tennessee should have a break in precipitation until late afternoon Wednesday,” Nagi said. “Currently, several locations have high water signs placed; however, no road closures have been required due to flooding at this time.”

Nagi also said that State Route 63 in Hancock County is down to one lane due to a slide. Portable red lights have been placed at this location to help traffic flow. Slides were also reported in Anderson and Blount counties.

Overnight, a location in the National Park on U.S. Highway 411 in Sevier County experienced a mudslide near the Westgate Resort. Crews are coordinating with the National Park Service to assist. At this time, it appears the NPS has contacted a local contractor for clean-up.

Travelers are reminded to never drive through flood waters. Turn around, don’t drown.

Downpours cause flooding across Deep South

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Storms stretching across the Deep South dumped heavy rains on Mississippi and Alabama on Monday, causing flash floods that covered roads and forced some schools to close.

Dozens of roads were under water in low-lying areas across the Tennessee Valley after a hours of rain, and cars crept along flooded streets in downtown Birmingham. Video showed vehicles leaving wakes behind them on flooded roads, with waves slapping the side of a building in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Several school systems sent students home early as forecasters warned more downpours were on the way, and some planned to open late on Tuesday.

More than 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain fell during the day in spots, and the National Weather Service said another 4 inches (10 centimeters) could fall by Tuesday night. After that, potentially severe storms will move across the region, the National Weather Service said.

Flash flood watches and warnings stretched from eastern Texas into the western Carolinas. The Tennessee Valley Authority said some of its rivers and lakes had received as much as 400% of their normal rainfall for this time of year.

Parts of the region are still soggy from heavy rains last week. In north Alabama, some flooded roads were still closed from last week when the rain began Monday.