SUMMERVILLE, Ga. ( Associated Press) — Officials in the southeastern United States issued flood watches early Monday as forecasters warned of the potential for torrential rains on Labor Day in previously flooded areas.
Forecasters said the worst-hit areas by the storm over the weekend were northwest Georgia, with some places receiving 12 inches (30 cm) of rain.
According to officials, flooding cut off water service in parts of Chattoga County, Georgia.
“Our main goal right now is to get our situation back out of the water,” said Earl Rainwater, owner of the Rainwater Funeral Home in Somerville and Chattooga County Coroner. “Without water, nothing can be done. We don’t have water, except bottled water and whatever is in the rivers.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for Chattooga and Floyd counties on Sunday. It directed all state resources to help with “preparation, response and recovery activities”.
Rainwater said that in Chattanooga County, many people had to be rescued from their homes on Sunday, especially in low-lying areas of the county. “They used small fishing boats, they used kayaks, they used anything that floated.”
The National Weather Service said rain and thunderstorms are expected in the region on Monday as moisture is blowing south from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Weather Service, train storms — storms that drop several inches of rain as they move over the same areas as train cars — are also expected.
Flood conditions persisted in parts of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia through Monday night. The Weather Service said flash floods likely spread northeast toward parts of Pennsylvania and southern New England.
According to the Chattooga County Emergency Management Agency, pastors and church volunteers plan to distribute water Monday in the small towns of Somerville and Trion.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this before,” said Somerville Mayor Harry Harvey.
After visiting the community’s floodwater treatment plant on Monday morning, Harvey said, “Things are not as bad as we thought, or as bad as they could be.”
On Monday, employees were present at the spot to take stock of the damage. On Monday night or early Tuesday, “we should have a better assessment of what needs to be done,” Harvey said.
Chattooga County, located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, has approximately 25,000 residents.
Associated Press writer Jeff Martin contributed to this report from Woodstock, Georgia.