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Saturday May 23rd, 2015 4:50AM

Gainesville slogs through wet Wednesday

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Gainesville did not suffer from a tornado like the one that ravaged Adairsville in northwest Georgia but it did get wet - very wet.

Streets and highways flooded and it was a soggy, hazardous drive home for thousands of motorists. A taxi driver was briefly trapped at a low spot on Martin Luther King Drive near Athens Highway in Gainesville. Police found him reportedly on top of his cab as the water flowed around him. It just rained too hard for the drainage system to take all the moisture. Eventually the flooding receded enough for him to drive away with patrol car assistance. Motorists were advised not to drive where the water covered the pavement.

At the Downtown Mobile Home Park off Atlanta Highway, residents, many of them children, waded in brown flood water that backed up from rain swollen Flat Creek. Park owner Shane Reidling said the park has flooded twice in the past 15 years and it flooded again Wednesday.

"It has gotten deeper than this but from experience we know it's not going to get any deeper," Reidling said. "When it comes down as hard as it has, there's a bridge bottleneck over at Atlanta Highway. The bridge there bottlenecks Flat Creek and everything starts backing up from Atlanta Highway all the way to Pearl Nix Parkway."

Reidling said a couple of mobile homes sustained flood damage but added that all the residents were all right. He said water receded quickly enough to allow most of them to stay in their homes.

During the height of the storm and immediatly after, flooding was reported at a number of other locations in north Georgia.

In Forsyth County, emergency officials reported flooding along West Maple Street near the Tyson plant in Cumming. They also reported flooding from Dave's Creek near Hall Creek. The usual trouble spot during heavy rain, Big Creek, was under a flood warning in Forsyth County Wednesday night.

In Jackson County, flooding caused afternoon traffic delays on Highway 11 south of Highway 129 during the afternoon. There were reports of a road closure in that area from the Georgia Department of Transportation. First responders also reported flooding on Washington Street in front of Jefferson High School.

During the torrential rain, Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood said it was a long commute back from Atlanta, with standing water issues on Interstate 985 just before 4:00 p.m.

"It's taken us over an hour to get from downtown Atlanta to Flowery Branch, but one of the worst places was 985, with standing water," Blackwood said.

As the storms pushed out, Blackwood said it's a good idea to slow down and give plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you. He'd also encountered several drivers in the heavy rain, driving without headlights on.
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