Floodwaters force evacuations in Gilmer County - New York News

Floodwaters force evacuations in Gilmer County

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(Photo tweeted by Gilmer County Sheriff's Office; courtesy Andrea Carver) (Photo tweeted by Gilmer County Sheriff's Office; courtesy Andrea Carver)
GILMER COUNTY, Ga. -

Floodwaters prompted many evacuations in Gilmer County on Thursday.

Rainy conditions shut down one bridge and flooded other roads in the morning hours.

Just before 8 a.m., the Gilmer County Sheriff's Office tweeted that Blackberry Mtn. Road was shut down at the bridge at Azalea Road due to dangerous flooding in that area.

Nearby Clear Creek rose out of its banks and forced Pat Lipham's home on Blackberry Mountain Road off of its foundation.

Gilmer County firefighters were able to get Lipham to safety after she climbed on a dresser to stay above the water.

"I was sitting on the dresser and all the sudden I heard…my house moving off the foundation," Lipham said. "I sat on the dresser and I could see the water through the kitchen window is how high it was."

Across the road, Sara and Howard Gardner also found themselves trapped by the flash flood.

Residents said they haven't seen this level of flooding in the area since 2004.

"Been through it before, you know, and we recovered and we are fine," said Sara Gardner. "But I just don't know – it was much higher, the water was much higher this time."

The floodwaters from Clear Creek rushed into Dick Martin's creekside home.

"It started climbing. It's usually slow but about 7:15, it started climbing," Martin said.

Martin said the water rose about 3 feet into home.

"It kept raining and kept raining and finally when it got light enough, I looked out in the river and there were canoes flying by, stairs, trees," Martin said.

Gilmer County's fire chief said at least 30 homes were evacuated and up to three homes were swept up off their foundation.

Aubrey Clark watched the water rise at the house where he lives with his father on the Cartecay River. The flood washed away wooden steps leading to the river, but the family was OK.

"It was completely flooded up to the boat house and then completely tore down all the stairs," Clark said.  "We thought the deck was lost but thankfully about two hours later the flood actually started going down."

Residents said the rivers and streams are filled with debris, including propane tanks which were washed away in the storm.

Outside of Blackberry Mountain Road, one of the hardest hit areas was around Homer Wright Road in Ellijay.

Mountain Valley Farm, a family-owned chicken farm and dairy business, suffered damage. Four chicken houses were reportedly destroyed by the flash flooding. Thousands of chickens were killed.

Department of Agriculture officials quarantined the area around the business as a health precaution.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency officials said that two creeks – Turkey Creek and Clear Creek – crested at more than 10 feet on Thursday morning. That's more than 3 feet above the flooding stage.

Clear Creek Acres Lane was reportedly washed away and officials believe there were people stranded on one side.

The Red Cross set up a shelter at the Gilmer Middle School for anyone in need of assistance who may have been misplaced from their homes.

County damage assessment teams will be out in the area on Friday, and firefighters plan to go door-to-door to check on those who stayed in their homes during the flooding.

FOX 5 Atlanta Storm Team coverage:
Reports of mudslide, flooding in Pickens Co.
FOX 5 Storm Team's Live Vipir radar
FOX 5 Storm Team updates on Twitter

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