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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Heavy Atlanta Rain

I've been out of pocket for much of the week after returning a two week trip for business. During the entire week, we had some heavy rain in the Atlanta area. This culminated in a major rain event Monday with much flooding resulting in 10 deaths.

The hardest hit area was Douglass County to the northwest of Atlanta. Street flooding was so severe that many roads stayed blocked until as late as Thursday. Some schools were flooded completely and many homes were destroyed. Fourteen counties have been declared federal disaster areas.

Biden visits Ga. storm victims; more rain expected (AP)

Vice President Joe Biden on Friday pledged the federal government would help Georgia recover from the severe weather that swept through the Southeast, even as rain and the threat of more flooding was forecast for the weekend.

Biden toured the metro Atlanta area by helicopter and saw portions of the city still under water from the deluge earlier this week. At least 11 deaths in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee were blamed on the storms.

"It's not Katrina in its scope, by any stretch of the imagination, but the impact on their lives, on your lives, we understand it is Katrina," Biden said.

President Barack Obama was closely monitoring the situation from the G-20 economic summit in Pittsburgh, Biden said. After touring the devastation that washed out roads and highways, the vice president visited residents who have been staying at a Red Cross shelter in Cobb County.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Friday night that 10 more counties were added to the federal disaster declaration, bringing the number of counties eligible for federal aid to 14.

This system surprised many in that it was not a tropical storm or even a depression. There were hardly any winds associated with the storms, just a heavy, continuous downpour.

Blame prolonged rains -- not big storms -- for Atlanta flood (CNN)

"This is something that's really impacting a lot of people and scientifically, it's an event that we don't see too often here in Atlanta -- especially when it's not connected to a tropical system," said Laura Griffith, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Georgia.

"When you're getting hit day after day with a couple inches of rainfall, that's where you start to see problems," she added.

Griffith said a low-pressure storm system moved into Georgia during the middle of last week. When it arrived, it feathered up next to a high-pressure system that was hovering over the East Coast. The result: It got stuck, she said.

CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said the atmosphere over north Georgia is completely saturated with water. A new storm system has moved into place now and, at any disturbance, is ready to drop more water on Atlanta.

"It's just sitting there waiting for someone to wring the washcloth," she said.

An example of how much rain fell can be seen in the following video section submitted to The Weather Channel by a viewer.

Amicalola Falls is normally a gentle flowing water fall in the North Georgia Mountains. The picture to the left was taken by A this past summer.

After Monday's rain, these falls turned into a raging torrent.

Another 1 - 2 inches are predicted for the North Georgia region for today. As saturated as the ground is, flooding is a real possibility. A flash flood watch has been in place since Friday and lasts until Sunday. Fortunately the rain has not been too bad and may not amount to too much.

The rain combined with the runoff resulted in an increase in the level of lake Sidney Lanier of close to 4 feet. The lake remains below full pool and is now at the highest level since the two year drought of 2007 - 8. If anythign positive came of this rain, filling the lake is a good thing.

2010 Atlantic Hurricanes (courtesy of

NOAA Gulf of Mexico Radar (courtesy of

NOAA West Atlantic & Caribbean Radar (courtesy of

NOAA East Atlantic Radar (courtesy of