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Flooded campground forces residents to evacuate

12:16 AM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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  • Courtesy Sevier County EMA
  • Couresty Julie Hughett
  • Courtesy Julie Hughett
    

The heavy rain has flooded folks out of their campers and cabins near the Smokies.

"This is the worst we've seen. We've been here in six years," said Ripplin' Waters Campground resident, Susan Glover.

All of the permanent campers at Ripplin' Waters were forced to move their RVs to higher ground. Four of the RVs didn't get out in time.

Susan Glover and her husband normally don't have to move their RV when the river swells as some of their neighbors close to the river do. This time they didn't have a choice.

"About 4:30 p.m. the water started coming up real fast so we decided to move out too," said Glover.

The process of moving the 30 campers out of the water started last night around midnight and took all day. Managers called in Stooksbury Towing to help.

"It takes time because everything is submerged underwater," said Shannon Bowling of Stooksbury Towing. He and his girlfriend, Julie Hughett, helped seven campers to escape the rising waters.

"When we first arrived probably about 1 o'clock the water was up to his shin. In the same spot by 4 o'clock it was up to his waist," Hughett said.

The couple also helped the residents without the option to leave to get valuable items out.

Some residents are able to plug in their RVs at the clubhouse. They do not have water, but they do have electricity.  They can use communal bathrooms. Others went to nearby hotels.

The Red Cross has also opened a shelter at the Pigeon Forge Community center for anyone who needs a place to stay.

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