published Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Rainy workweek will clear up in time for weekend

Mike Driver, left, and Rick Underwood uses umbrellas as they walk past Miller Park through intermittent rain showers at midday Wednesday in downtown Chattanooga.
Mike Driver, left, and Rick Underwood uses umbrellas as they walk past Miller Park through intermittent rain showers at midday Wednesday in downtown Chattanooga.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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Keep your rain boots and umbrellas handy: The end of the workweek will bring still more rain and some storms to the Chattanooga area.

"The next couple days are probably going to be wet," WRCB-TV Channel 3 Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys said. "There is a lot of water off to the west of us that's on a trajectory to head our way."

The area saw scattered patches of rain this week, with some spots getting as little as a half-inch and others seeing more than 3 inches of rain, Barys said. He expects another 1 to 3 inches to fall before the weekend, when the weather will dry up and warm up.

"A little drier air will start to move in by the weekend, and we'll start to warm up to near 90 by Saturday," he said. "Then we'll be into the 90s Sunday, Monday and Tuesday again."

Northwest Georgia is also in for rain, said Kent McMullen, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga.

"Based on our radar, we've had anywhere between 2 and 4 inches in the last couple of days across North Georgia," he said. "The chances of rain are about 80 percent Thursday, 60 percent Friday and 40 percent Saturday and Sunday."

Parts of downtown Chattanooga flooded from the heavy rainfall Tuesday afternoon and Barys said more flooding is possible, but not likely.

"That was only because of the intensity over two, three hours," he said. "If you get 1 to 3 inches in a day, the sewage [system] can handle that, but 1 to 3 inches in two or three hours, that's tough. And that's why it was flooding downtown."

The best option for drivers who encounter flooding is to find an alternate route, said Amy Maxwell, public information officer for Hamilton County Emergency Services.

"The problem is that people think, even though they cannot see the road, they feel they can go through it," she said. "But you don't know how deep the water is, and you don't know what is in the water. You don't know if there is heavy debris that is below the surface. People have a tendency to get their cars stuck."

If drivers do get caught in a flood, they should keep their windows rolled down and try to get out of the vehicle, she said.

"Water pressure can make it difficult for you to open your door, so if your window is rolled down, you can at least escape through the car window if you need to," Maxwell said. "You want to get out of the vehicle as fast as you can if the water is not too swift and too dangerous."

Steve Leach, administrator of Chattanooga's Department of Public Works, encouraged residents to call 311, the city's call center, to report flooding.

"Particularly if it is a serious, dangerous situation, you need to call 311," he said. "They will activate us, and they will activate the police department. And then our crews can get out."

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about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury joined the Times Free Press as a business reporter in January 2013, after starting with the paper as a general assignment intern in July 2012. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint Hill Times. Outside the newsroom, Shelly enjoys ...

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