Floods of Georgia

A week's worth of violent and constant rains in Georgia swamped and flooded half of the state

A week's worth of violent and constant rains in Georgia swamped and flooded half of the state

I received emails and phone calls from friends and readers of this blog concerned about us, and about the rains and destruction in Georgia.

We are fine. We are blessed. We were very, very fortunate.  Except for some new-found holes in the roofs and some spots in the ceilings which can be fixed….and 6 inches of rain in the basement, (taken care of intermittently by a sump pump and a dehumidifer)  and strange mold in a wooden fruit bowl sans fruit….we were lucky.

Old Atlanta is hilly.  We live in Old Atlanta.  The suburbs and some of the lower lying areas were hit hard with a constant week of rain.  In 24 hours we received  10.25 inches…and that was on top of already over saturated ground.

Other areas were not so lucky.  Streams became rivers, ponds and lakes overflowed and creeks did the same.  There was so much rushing water that houses were pushed off their foundations.  Nine people so far have died….including a toddler and a teen and a young mother who was washed away in her minivan while calling 911.  Property damage runs into the billions.

The weather was very strange before the flood.  A week of gray skies and just a heavy lowering of clouds and sentiments.  It was GLOOMY.  Then the rains started, and they were violent and forceful. They were not the usual fall rains which are more gentle, but constant and actually scary rains.  Back yards flooded out and front yards, too.  We live on a hill, half way down, so we got water from the top but it rushed to the main street.  The storm sewers couldn’t take the amount of water and overflowed.

But that was more minor.  Outlying farms, settlements, developments, neighborhoods were flooded with 4-5 foot water lines in the first floors of their houses.  Forget about basements…People lost everything as mud stayed when the water receeded.  Canoes and boats were the only transportation in and out of some subdivisions.  137 roads were destroyed or closed.  Schools and other businesses are still closed.  Many trees toppled onto houses and across roads, weakened by the former drought years.  Many areas have ‘boil water’ advisories.

People had no way to get out of their subdivisions and had to stay home for days.  Power was cut off in many of these communities, adding to the misery, because of  the potential fire hazards.  One house burned to the ground, in the midst of 4 feet of water, with a fire engine standing about 50 feet from it. The firemen couldn’t get to it, the rushing water was so violent.

At a time when so many have lost their jobs, their houses to mortgage issues, and a general malaise surrounds a formerly hopeful population, to be hit in such a way with this flooding is just too much to bear.  But people are out cutting trees from neighbors roofs, others are volunteering their time and muscle to cleaning up and salvaging anything they can for others.   There has been no reports of looting, and this is a further blessing.  The damage is so widespread across northern and eastern Georgia it’s almost impossible to take in.

The poor and the elderly suffer the most in these events, but I am also thinking of the wildlife, the stock of farms and domestic animals.  9 pups were caught in the flood….some were rescued and saved…others weren’t.  Many chained dogs in backyards were killed by the flooding because streams and creeks overflowed fast and in some cases, people were trying to salvage their own lives and animals were forgotten.

The rain was so hard and constant that it beat the tomatoes off the vines in the garden, flattened ginger and even killed a watermelon vine and the fruits attached.  The only creatures that were happy through all this were our goldfish in our small pond.

But Georgians are a tough people.  Kind, generous and inventive.  We will recover as a state.  There is no one not touched by some tragedy of the past week, either personally or by family/friend route, but this too shall pass.

Tuesday we had the first day of sunshine in two weeks, and it was marvelous.  I kept looking upwards, looking for storm clouds, but the blue sky was tender and extensive.  The warmth pouring down on a sodden ground was a benediction for all that had passed…and though we expect more rain soon, it was a welcome gift.

Thank you for all your expressed concern.  We are fine, and except for some strange mildew in the house, and mushrooms upon mushrooms outside in the gardens…we were very fortunate.

The best had wings or fins last week.  I have no poem appropriate to this flood, except one to a Redtailed Hawk who took up residence around our property  these last few years.  Seeing him fly over the woods and kudzu patches reminds me that life is full of tragedy, but also full of wonder.

Lady Nyo


Chicken Hawk!
Leave my chickens alone!
I have worked hard for them,
A handmaiden of fowl,
Collecting beautiful eggs
The gift of the species
Naturally dyed
Pink, brown, blue-green and white.
Presented at Easter,
A symbol of the Lamb of God,
And the Spring of Life.

Leave my chickens alone, hawk.
I won’t even share.

I remember, two short years ago,
When I first saw you wheeling over the kudzu
Riding the thermals,
Not even graced with the brick colored tail

of a Proper Redtailed hawk,

And I gasped at your splendor, a winged god
From the cosmos, glittering white ash against a cobalt sky,
And you landed one day in my birdbath,
Trying to look like a stone sculpture,
And just the flicker of your 8x eyes
Looked over the songbirds for lunch.

Jane Kohut-Birdtells
Copyrighted, 2009

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8 Responses to “Floods of Georgia”

  1. Berowne Says:

    Glad to hear you’re all right! I worried that you and your house might have been uprooted and sent down the Chattahoochee River to – um – wherever the Chattahoochee River goes, the gulf? Hurricanes are more dramatic but they tend to pass quickly; the sort of rainstorm that lingers for days has the potential to do just as much damage, from what I’ve seen. Hang in there; this too shall pass, as you say.


  2. Margie Says:

    So glad you haven’t suffered much damage in all the flooding. We actually had a taste of it Tuesday night, though no where near to the extent that you felt it. We had some flash flooding and roads closed. I had taken the girls to dance class and had a heck of time getting home due to the roads closing. We had three false starts and then success.

    Hopefully, the rains will hold off for a while and you and your neighbors will have the chance to dry out and clean up. You are in our thoughts, always.

    Shalom, cuz!


  3. ladynyo Says:

    Good God! I hope you don’t!! (flood that is) It is a mess all over northern Georgia…plus the body count is rising….10 now and more expected.

    Thank, cuz…and Shalom to you!!!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, thank you! Berowne… we are ok, except for the mold and water in the basement…nothing serious.

    There are so many others that lost everything….and I feel so sorry and am fishing around for something to do for them….this weekend perhaps I can do something.

    Georgia and Georgians can drive me crazy, but after all these years…these people are the salt of the earth and deserve the best.

    Thank you, again for your concern.



  5. Dangerous Bill Says:

    I hoped you were okay. Since there’s been the odd post, I assumed you weren’t living in a refugee shelter and you had at least Internet connection. It looked pretty bad from here.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Very Dangerous Bill!

    So glad to hear from you. No, we dodged the bullet here, but all around us…inside of Atlanta, in the lower lying parts, and all over Northern Ga…they got socked with the rain.

    And as bad as it looked….pictures can’t tell how bad it really was.

    “They” are warning (Noa….appropriate for this…!!) that Saturday will bring very heavy storms….and it amazes me the technology that allows this peek into the future, but the rivers are still rising as the water retreats from the fields, and who knows what will happen down stream.

    We do know that it’s just about impossible to plan for this, and evacuation? That’s an iffy proposition at best.

    Thank you, Bill..for your heart felt concern.



  7. Berowne Says:

    > Saturday will bring very heavy storms
    At least the area will have had some time by then to drain; the forecast seems to indicate mostly sunny from Sunday on, which is good.
    Oh, and if you need a recipe for mushroom casserole, let me know. 😉


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Ugh…these mushrooms are huge and red…I don’t think they are edible…but I’ll try one on a hen.

    The cleanup on tv….of the storm areas is unreal. People lost everything.

    We were so fortunate.


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