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Flooded roads and power outages sweep city

July 17th, 2013 6:27 pm by Jennifer Sprouse

Flooded roads and power outages sweep city

Flooding at Broadway and East Main streets (Photo by Lee Talbert/Press Photo Editor)

Marking the third consecutive Wednesday the area has seen heavy rain and severe storms, yesterday’s thunderstorm, this time with severe lightning, hit fast and hard, which caused flooding and power outages throughout Johnson City and the region.

Around 5 p.m. downtown Johnson City resembled a lake with water standing and areas between Buffalo and Dodge streets flooded.

Boone and Market streets were also reported to be impassable to vehicles, and several roadblocks were set up by Johnson City police on State of Franklin Road and Main Street.

Following last week’s flooding, the area near Appalachian Funeral Home was reported flooded again. The backside of Myrtle Street near American Water Heater was also reportedly flooded.

Area parks, including Kiwanis and Carver, had also been affected by the heavy rain and had flooding.

According to emergency radio communications, two trees were reported down on Broadway Street, as well as a four-car wreck on that same road.

Legion Street also reportedly had some flooding from the storm.

The downtown area had several power outages, which affected traffic lights and downtown businesses.

East Johnson City neighborhoods reported power outages, as well as widespread flooding and high water in back yards between East Watauga and East Unaka avenues.

Minor flooding was also reported in Burgin Dossett, Rogers-Stout and Sam Wilson halls at East Tennessee State University, according to an ETSU representative.

According to the Johnson City Power Board Twitter page, approximately 30,000 customers lost power Wednesday evening.

JT McSpadden, Johnson City Power Board representative, said around 7:15 p.m. that only 2,200 customers were without power, which dropped again around 8 p.m. to approximately 1,300 outages remaining.

“The reason we had so many off at one time was because a 69 kilovolt line, which is one of our feeds from TVA, went out from a lightning strike. That’s a primary substation,” he said. 

McSpadden said the substations had been restored around 7 p.m. and anticipated full power to be restored Wednesday night.

According to JCPB’s Twitter page, one power pole was reported down from a car wreck on Corby Bridge.

Around 6:45 p.m., Washington County/Johnson City dispatchers said they had several calls coming in reporting flooding and damage throughout the city and county.

Carter County/Elizabethton dispatchers said some flooding had also been called in, as well as people stranded in their vehicles, but said all had been rescued.

Most of Elizabethton and western Carter County were without electricity for about an hour, from 6-7 p.m. Elizabethton Electric Department spokesman Ken Markland said the outages were caused by TVA having to switch lines and turn off the feed to two substations.

“That was a pretty big area and it was because we lost the feed from TVA for a while,” Markland said. In addition, Markland said there was the normal number of small outages caused when a large thunderstorm moves through the area. 

The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Office said it had seen some flooding Wednesday in the Springbrook area on the north end of the county, but said the high water had subsided. They also reported having a few outages in the area as well.

Greene County dispatchers said they had storms in their area, but said they had not received any reports of flooding or power outages. Around 7 p.m., Johnson County reported that they had not had any rain or storms.

A flash flood warning was issued for Scott County, Va., and Sullivan and Washington counties in Tennessee until 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Sam Roberts said.

“These are just your typical summertime thunderstorms. It really wasn’t due to any type of big system or complex,” Roberts said Wednesday. “They did kind of merge together, though, over Northeast Tennessee to create a pretty large area of widespread scattered showers and storms. I know the flooding has been the main thing. There’s been a lot of areas with a lot of water. Several roads closed across Sullivan and Washington counties.”

Roberts said quarter- to nickel-sized hail was also reported near Bristol and the Bluff City region.”

Around 1.4 inches of total rainfall was recorded at Tri-Cities Regional Airport, Blountville, according to a National Weather Service representative. He said the radar estimated rainfall for the area Wednesday, though, was approximately around 3 to 4 inches.

According to the National Weather Service website, there is a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms today and tonight. The high will be near 90 degrees, with the low around 67 degrees.

Friday, a 40 percent chance of rain is predicted during the day, dropping to a 30 percent chance Friday night. The high is expected to be around 86 degrees, with the low around 67 degrees. 

Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson contributed to this report.

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