Little River overflows in Blount County

12:32 AM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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  • The Little River overflows in Blount County Tuesday evening
  • The Little River overflows in Blount County Tuesday evening
  • The Little River overflows in Blount County Tuesday evening

Two days of heavy rain has left Blount County wet, and flooded in some areas. The Little River runs through Townsend, where authorities have kept busy managing its flood waters.

"These are low lying areas," said Townsend Fire Chief Don Stallion. "During a weather event like this, we expect to have problems at them."

Stallion's department barricaded several problem areas, including Carnes Road which runs alongside the river and through the Dark Island neighborhood. Two families living in the area evacuated their homes to avoid rising water, and officials also notified campgrounds.

Roy Lindsey lives on the still-accessible Cedar Creek Road in Townsend. While his home and front yard remain out of the flood zone, the property he owns across the street and closer to the river is under water.

"When the river gets up, you can't get out and go anywhere," Lindsey says. "You have to wait until it runs down."

He says although that process can often take several hours, the neighborhood is used to it.

"It comes out of the mountains, and once the rain stops it may take four or five hours to quit rising."

Stallion says water levels along the river can be difficult to measure, because the depth and width of the river and its banks vary. Instead, officials measure the speed at which water is flowing.

On an average day, the river usually runs between 2,000 and 4,000 cubic feet per second. Tuesday evening, Stallion says the water was moving much quicker at about 5800 cubic feet per second.

"Usually, what affects us the most, is what happens in the park," he said. "There's actually two branches of the Little River, and depending on how those dump into the main river [it determines] what sort of situation we're going to have here."

Stallion says Tuesday evening was fairly quiet, as many stayed off the roads and rode out the storm. The Blount County Rescue Squad reports a similar situation, with very few calls coming in.

The Red Cross shelter at Tuckaleechee United Methodist Church in Townsend remains open, but Tuesday evening volunteers say it has not yet been used for overnight stay.

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