Towns County spared brunt of stormy weather

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Enchanted Valley Resort

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County was narrowly spared the brunt of this week’s storms, with minimal flooding and no significant incidents or damage, other than downed trees, reported as a result of the rainy weather. Residents of Enchanted Valley RV Resort, however, closely monitored the quickly rising Hiawassee River, which runs along the banks of the mobile home park, ready to take action should the water continue to swell. Residents kept a close watch on their properties and the data provided by a river stage monitoring station on nearby Riverside Drive.  The low-lying residential area is prone to flooding during periods of extended rain.

USGS Hiawassee

USGS river stage monitoring station at Riverside Drive.

In May 2018, heavy rainfall from Subtropical Storm Alberto resulted in the extensive flooding of Enchanted Valley RV Resort, located off of Highway 75 South, with Towns County first responders arriving on scene to assist in after-dark evacuations.

While the Hiawassee River did rise considerably in a short amount of time, Mother Nature was overall kind to the residents of a park that recently suffered the loss of three homes due to a structure fire.

“River stage is an important concept when analyzing how much water is moving in a stream at any given moment. Stage is the water level above some arbitrary point, usually with the zero height being near the river bed, in the river and is commonly measured in feet,” the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which gauges the water levels, website explains. “With the advent of modern computer and satellite technology, the USGS can monitor the stage of many streams almost instantly. Since some streams, especially those in the normally arid Western U.S., can rise dramatically in a matter of minutes during a major storm, it is important to be able to remotely monitor how fast water is rising ‘in real-time’ in order to warn people that might be affected by a dangerous flood. Recreational users of streams, such as kayakers, also use “real-time” stream-stage data to tell them if certain streams are at the right height for kayaking. The USGS can now gather data on river stage and even produce graphs showing stage as the rain is falling.”

Towns County flooding

USGS graph of the recent Hiawassee River water levels.

As the storms moved out of Towns County and the temperature decreased, slight precipitation remained in the atmosphere, resulting in a minimal amount of snowfall in portions of the county on the morning of Feb. 7. Another light dusting to a possible inch or more of snowfall is expected Saturday morning, Feb. 8.

Towns County Schools initially planned to operate on a two-hour delay, canceling campus classes entirely on Friday, Feb. 7, due to winter conditions.

Featured Image: The swift-moving Hiawassee River alongside Enchanted Valley RV Park, Hiawassee, GA

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