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Weekend storms lead to what could be historic flooding in Big South Fork NRRA

It's not unusual for the area to flood, but this is more than many locals remember seeing.

ONEIDA, Tenn. — Heavy rains this weekend have overflowed the banks of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

What is usually a popular picnic area, parking lot, and trailhead is now covered in water at Leatherwood Ford. A gazebo that sits well away from the river's edge is submerged almost up to its roof.

It's not unusual for the area to flood, but this is more than many locals remember seeing.

The gage height, a measurement taken to determine the river's water levels, has been running just below 10 feet this week. Sunday morning, it surged almost to 45 feet, according to data from the USGS.

The water gauge that measures how much water is actually flowing through the river also spiked on Sunday at almost 90-thousand cubic feet per second. It has been flowing at well below 10-thousand cfs earlier this week.

At another spot in Scott County, the Independent Herald reported that part of the historic Burnt Mill Bridge had been washed away in the flood. The steel structure over Clear Fork in Robbins was in disrepair and had not been used by vehicles for years. It was replaced by a new bridge nearby. 

Credit: Nancy Duncan Chambers