Cleanup resumes after storms pound north metro area

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Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller declared a state of emergency, saying his town got 7.5 inches of rain in just six hours. He said the sheer volume of rain simply overwhelmed culverts and drainage systems.

ATLANTA - Residents in Hall and Forsyth counties continued cleaning up the damage left behind after this weekend's record rainfall led to serious flooding.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller declared a state of emergency, saying his town got 7.5 inches of rain in just six hours. He said the sheer volume of rain simply overwhelmed culverts and drainage systems.

"You design culverts and drainage systems for the 100-year flood, but you expect that over a period of days," said Miller. "It's hard to design culverts and water systems that will handle that much water in that little period of time."

The normally docile Mud Creek overflowed its banks and washed away a chunk of busy McEver Road.

Officials closed the road, prompting commuters and Hall County school buses to find alternate routes. Miller is particularly concerned about Spring Street.

Half of the road is unusable but is the only way into or out of a 100-unit apartment complex. Crews are watching the road carefully and are preparing to evacuate the complex if a washout happens.

Janet Upchurch owns the Sample Pleasures Antique Store in downtown Flowery Branch. The heavy rains flooded her basement with a foot of mud. She spent Monday shoveling it out.

"I have done this so much today, I'm sick of it," Upchurch told Channel 2's Richard Elliot.

Over in Forsyth County, the heavy rains overwhelmed an earthen dam, which collapsed early Sunday morning, washing away, Lake Alice,  sometimes known as Mary Alice Lake. It's been in Cumming since the 1930s and many Forsyth County adults swam there as children. The family that owns the private lake built a rustic lodge on its shores for visitors. The family said the lake was originally built as a private lake, with the owners inviting the public to enjoy the lake on a regular basis.

"My heart fell," said longtime visitor Bruce Logan. He swam in Lake Alice just last July. "I had a tear in my eye. It was the only place I've seen in a long time that was an anachronism from a century ago."

A boil-water advisory remains in effect for Flowery Branch residents until 9 p.m. Monday. Only those residents who pay their bills to the city of Flowery Branch are covered by that advisory.

Channel 2's Carl Willis went to Paulding County, where a family had to dive out of the way when a tree crashed through a home.

"I was terrified," said Rhonda Simmons, talking about how a falling tree came dangerously close to hitting members of her family, including 6- and 11-year-old children, as they sat in their home on East Paulding Drive.

"The storm had already started they felt the floor vibrating, and one of the adults said get in the hallway," Simmons said.

Simmons told Willis there were several people in the living room when that tree came crashing down. She said two of them had to dive out of the way to escape harm.

"Five of them managed to get down the hallway. The other two went the other direction," Simmons said.

Simmons said no one was injured, but there's not much she can save.

Tree service workers said this was an extreme case, but they told Willis trees were down all across Paulding County.

"It was a pretty severe storm that came through here yesterday, high winds. It did a lot of damage," said Shane Fields with DNM Tree Service

"The tree blew onto my neighbor's house, it could have blown onto my house," said Scott Howren, talking about a tree that fell on his neighbor's home on Summerhill Road. "I've got an older house; it would have taken it down."

Amazingly there are no reports of injuries in Paulding County, despite some scary moments at the Simmons house when some were not accounted for.

"Until everyone could climb out, they really thought two were under the tree," Simmons said.