The biggest concern for emergency management officials is the heavy rain expected this week, according to Tim Herrington, director of the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency.
“We’re just having to keep our fingers crossed,” Herrington said. “Hopefully, the break from the rain we had Sunday, along with the sun coming out briefly, helped enough before this next round comes through.”
"We can expect two rounds of potential thunderstorms, the first will be today through Tuesday with a predicted 1 to 2 inches of rain," Herrington said. "The second round will be on Wednesday through Friday morning with a predicted 2 to 4 inches of rain forecast for our area. Currently our river levels are going down slowly, but we still have several areas that are still flooded. These areas will probably remain flooded until this particular rain event moves out of our area and affords us several days of clear weather to allow the water levels an extended opportunity to recede."
According to the National Weather Service, there is a 90 percent chance of rain today and the forecast is calling for rain every day this week, with skies expected to finally clear on Friday. A flood watch issued Sunday runs from 1 p.m. today through Tuesday afternoon.
Armuchee Creek is under a flood warning, early Monday morning the creek was measured at 24.4 feet and that level was slowly dropping. Flood stage for Armuchee Creek is 19 feet.
“We really won’t have a good idea of what to expect until our weather briefing at 11 a.m.,” Herrington said. “We still have quite a few roads and areas with high water, but the Oostanaula crested Sunday and we are seeing water recede in some areas.”
Herrington said the best advice he can give now is for people to make sure they pay attention to the signs emergency management have posted.
“If it says high water, do not try to go through it, turn around,” he added.
City and county police, emergency management officials and public works officials were patrolling Sunday night, checking for new hazards.
“We’re keeping an eye on the gate at the levee,” Herrington said. “And if anyone sees a problem, just call 911 and they will report it to the proper agency.”
City Manager Sammy Rich said that while the rivers haven’t reached this level in several years, the gate at the levee is secure.
“There is seepage at the gate, but it is flowing into the drain like it’s supposed to,” Rich said. “If you look at the levee, that gate is holding a whole lot of water back and it is doing a great job.”
The seepage is more of a nuisance at this point, he added.
“Our crews will be looking at that and the seeping will be fixed,” he said. “The fix could be something as simple as adding a rubber seal to the bottom of the gate.”
Water watchers were coming from across the county to see the high river levels Sunday, with more than 100 following the trail over the Robert Redden Footbridge to the top of the levee at Heritage Park.
“My twin daughters play soccer and cheer at the park here,” said Tiffany Culpepper. “We thought it would be fun for them to see the water covering the whole area.”
Tammy Huckaby said her son and his friend begged her to bring them out.
“They have been talking about it all weekend,” she laughed. “They kept telling me, ‘we gotta go, we gotta go.’”
Several families took a drive after church to find the high water areas.
Kathy Rogers and her children Cannon and Mallory Rogers first went to Ridge Ferry Park.
“Then, we went to the library and then came here to the levee,” she said. “I’ve never seen it this high, it’s a little concerning.”
Rome native Shaylan Johnson brought her friend Joseph Banks to see the river. Banks, who moved here from Philadelphia, said the view was disturbing.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “I wanted to see it, but it is a little weird.”
Johnson admitted she found the water “fascinating.”
“I hate to see Rome flood like this, but you have to come look,” she said.
The Rome Area History Museum was one of several downtown buildings on Broad Street that had to have their basements pumped out Sunday afternoon.
Brewhouse owner Jay Shell said he had three feet of water in his basement.
“There’s about four more feet before it gets too close to the ceiling, so I’m hoping we don’t have too much more rain,” he said.
Former city manager John Bennett said basements in that area have flooded before when the rivers overflowed their banks.
“It is not unusual, especially from the Cotton Block to the 300 block,” he said. “This is not the highest the rivers have been. I know back in the early ’90s we saw the river get to 33 or 34 feet and the basements flooded then, too.”
The Oostanaula was at 29 feet as of Sunday afternoon. The flood stage is 25 feet.
For the latest local forecast and river levels:
- Click here for the National Weather Service.
- Click here for The Weather Channel's interactive weather map.
- Click here for the level of the Oostanaula River at Turner McCall Boulevard.
- Click here for the level of the Etowah River at the bypass
- Click here for the level of the Coosa River at Mayo's Bar Lock and Dam.
- Click here for the level of Armuchee Creek.
- Click here to see recent precipitation and temperatures at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport.