Georgia Governor Kemp declares a state of emergency as heavy rains cause flash flooding in Trion and Summerville
Summerville could be without water for one to two weeks; Trion sees water damages never seen before in the town
TRION, GA (WDEF) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declares a state of emergency for Chattooga and Floyd Counties after heavy rain causes flash floods.
The scenes are overwhelming.
For the mayor of one Chattooga County town, a 24-hour rainfall has Trion both shocked and ready to help those most in need.
Trion Mayor Lanny Thomas recalled how his morning went. “I received a call from the police chief, David Gilliland, and when I saw his name on my phone, I knew it wasn’t good for him to call me on a Sunday morning. I got out and started driving around, and what I saw, I knew this was not going to be good at all. Devastating. It continually got worse, and the rain continued to fall, and the water continued to rise.”
You could see the flooding everywhere.
In front of the town hall.
At the high school.
Trion has an 18-hole disc golf course within town limits. That blue disc you see above the water is the cap on the 18th hole basket.
Thomas says Trion will likely see more rising tides.
“It could be more devastating. It could get worse. And, you just hope and pray that doesn’t occur, but, if it does, I know that the crew for the town of Trion will be there working as hard as they can to help those citizens that are being affected by it.”
Brandon Croy, the Public Works Director for Trion, added, “This was pretty much a disaster. We’ve got anywhere from ten to 13 inches (of rainfall) in 12 hours. Our infrastructure of our little town cannot handle that. We’ve had hydrology studies done. Anything, four or five inches (of rain) in 24 hours, we flood.”
While Trion was dealing with flooding, nearby Summerville did, too. Several downtown businesses saw water waist-high, and there’s a possibility Summerville could be without water for the next one to two weeks.
Mayor Thomas: “I was about to check with our police department, our police chief, to see if we could get, maybe, some assistance, and then I saw what was occurring in Summerville, and I thought, ‘No. They have their hands full themselves.’ They have flooding they’ve never seen before. So, they were hit possibly even worse than we were.”
For the last day, Trion has worked around the clock to clear debris and open up drains so water can flow normally.
Thomas: “The police department, fire department, our street department…It’s been all hands on deck. They’ve been doing a wonderful job working, in trying to help as much as possible.”
In helping the area, Trion connected its water line to Hays State Prison since Summerville’s line went down.
Mayor Thomas tells News 12 that several tourists come to Trion to see the town.
With all the devastation due to the flooding, he hopes the tourists can stay away so city workers are clear to help Trion get back to normal.