Area waterlogged by steady rainsPublished 10:55pm Sunday, July 7, 2013
High waters, downed trees plague responders
by Samantha Hurst & Leah Justice
Heavy downpours dampened Fourth of July festivities around Polk County and Landrum last week canceling fireworks and recreational trips on the Green River.
Only five days into July, Polk County almost reached last year’s average rain total for the month. In July 2012, Polk County received an average monthly rainfall of 7.9 inches. As of Friday, July 5 at 5 p.m. the county had accumulated 5.19 inches of precipitation and more rain was expected.
All of this rain has led to lost revenue for several area businesses and potentially dangerous conditions on roadways and rivers.
“The rivers are so high all responsible outfitters are canceling trips,” said Green River Adventures owner Sara Bell in an email Thursday night. “It’s a huge hit financially, because it’s the 4th of July weekend, but it’s not worth the risk.”
A sign outside of Green River Tubing read, “Closed” on Friday as well.
Co-owner Wendell Gillespie said his tubing business was closed all day Friday, July 5, but that he hoped the river level would drop enough to allow him to serve clients on Saturday and Sunday.
While recreation companies closed their doors July 4, first responders were out full-force.
The heavy downpours resulted in multiple calls for downed trees and power lines and high waters.
The Tryon Fire Department responded to multiple trees down throughout July 4 as well as flooding over Vaughn Street, which caused emergency responders to close the street for a few hours, according to Tryon Town Manager and Fire Chief Joey Davis.
There was also minor flooding in other parts of town, including Screven Road, where water tends to pond/pool during heavy rains. One of the trees/power lines down was around Lake Lanier and all others were inside town limits, Davis said.
Landrum also saw its share of calls with major flooding on Howard Avenue and Tucker Street. Landrum firefighters said those roads saw flood waters 2-3 feet deep on July 4.
Landrum also responded to a house and yard flooding on Campbell and Rickert Avenues. A power line was also down on N. Laurel and Trade Street, as well as a vehicle accident with no injuries.
The Columbus Fire Department responded to several trees down and responded to a vehicle accident on Hwy. 74 during the July 4 holiday.
Polk County Emergency Services’ Penny Storey said Polk County’s main concern during July 4 was the Green Creek area, particularly the Highlands subdivision. Storey said the Green Creek Fire Department was out on July 4 checking the subdivision and Watson Road where the water was high but did not cause any road closings.
Green Creek Volunteer Fire Department ran one wreck and five calls for trees down.
Mark Schmerling contributed to this article.