As heavy rains pelted Middle Tennessee last Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and flood warnings flashed across the television screen, fear of a repeat of the May floods became a concern for the folks in Macon County. With more than seven inches of rain falling between that time period, and another three inches in the wee hours of Thursday morning, August 19th, roads were washed outs, schools were closed, and residents were on stand by to seek higher ground.The downpours pounded the area, but forecasters didn’t foresee it wrecking the same kind of havoc as the severe flooding in May. By Thursday afternoon, most flood watches and warnings in Tennessee had expired, but once again Macon County sustained road damage, reporting half a million dollars to TEMA.
Macon County Road Supervisor, Audie Cook, began receiving phone calls around 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning, August 18th, according to Regina Flippin of the Highway Department, and by 10:30 a.m. twenty-four roads in Macon County were closed including: Wilder Lane, Phillips Hollow, Addison Hollow, Gas Hollow, Pedigo Lane, Jay Lane, Whitson Hollow, Tanyard @ Loftis, Kirbytown, Green Valley Road, Hirestown Road, West Fork Creek Road, East Walnut Shade, Bottom Road @ Driver Road, Shrum Cemetery Road, Claiborne Lane, Maxie Bluff Road, Denham Hollow Road, Old Barton Road, Reece Road, Sister Hollow, Red Bud, Old Lake Road, and Barefoot Lane.
Cook and another department employee were called out again around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, August 19th, after the second round of rain came through, to remove trees from several county roads, including Old Bottom.
“With such a heavy amount of rain in a short period of time,” Flippin said, “the metal tiles will not carry the water or the debris will stop the tiles up, causing it to flood into the roads, which in turn causes significant damage.”
“A lot of the damaged roads were in the east side of the county, which weren’t hit as hard during the May flood,” Flippin continued, “but they were hit harder by this round of flooding. Some of the roads had already been weakened three months ago during the relentless rain, and some were still in a state of repair. We were actually fortunate this time that the damage wasn’t as severe, and thanks to the department employees’ effort and dedication to the people in Macon County, the only road still closed on Monday, August 23rd, was Gas Hollow.”
“All of our emergency response agencies performed tremendously,” said Macon County Emergency Management Director Keith Scruggs, “and they were ready to assist our citizens in a minute’s notice. We evacuated eight bedridden residents at The Palace Care & Rehab, in Red Boiling Springs, only for precautionary measures, but by the grace of God we were able to transport them back to the facility the following day.”