Residents of East Tennessee are no strangers to weather. But the rainstorm last week, which started early Sunday morning, caught some off guard. The radio scanner was alive with constant communications from nearly every department in Sevier, Blount and Knox counties.

Some areas of Sevier County were evacuated while several roads, like Chapman, were closed for a period. The heavy rains caused flooding in Seymour, Sevierville, Knoxville and across the area. Numerous roads were closed and many others were threatened by rising water throughout the day. Sevierville Police Department had between 25 – 30 officers and support staff on duty throughout the day Sunday.

Sevierville Public Works Department personnel were kept busy erecting barricades on closed roads. Police were assisted by the Sevierville Fire Department and Sevier County Rescue Squad, with several evacuations due to the flooding. As of late Sunday afternoon, the following roads had been closed or partially closed due to flooding:
* Eastgate Road * Old Knoxville Highway * Snapp Road * Burden Hill Road * New Era Road * Apple Valley Road * Catlettsburg Road * Park Road and * Old Newport Highway

Several other roads had been closed and subsequently reopened when floodwaters had receded, including Ernest McMahan Road, Pullen Road, Cherry Street, Grace Avenue and Ridge Road. Emergency personnel assisted several drivers who had driven into flooded roadways and had to abandon their vehicles.

Sevierville Public Works personnel assisted police in helping an apparent homeless person who had fallen asleep underneath the bridge near Hardee’s Restaurant on West Main Street. Floodwaters were within a few feet of the sleeping man when City workers arrived and helped him move to safety. Police also rescued two K-9’s trapped by floodwaters.

The Sevier County Rescue Squad assisted in the evacuation of several families from a trailer park behind Chance’s Market, near the intersection on Middlecreek Road and Ridge Road. Due to the high floodwaters, the Rescue Squad used a boat to perform the evacuation.

In Seymour flooding was everywhere. Leona Pratt who lives in Cherokee Hills subdivision stated, “This is the worst flooding I have seen in the twenty-four years I have lived here.” Pratt’s home is not accessible by car due to the high floodwaters. “We can’t get to our house. We need to park in the neighbors driveway and walk through the grass.” The street where Pratt’s home is located, on First Street, floods each time there are heavy rains. States Pratt, “We are afraid with the construction from the new homes above our development that the flooding will even be worse”. Earl Pratt, Leona’s husband has stated that the water has been so high at times that the neighborhood children have actually swan in it.

Sevier County was one of the hardest areas hit but the rains. More than 100 people were evacuated, a dozen roads closed and at least one bridge heavily damaged. Rescue workers joined together to evacuate residents in many Sevier County communities, including Seymour, Waldens Creek, Jones Cove, Middle Creek and Wears Valley. From Seymour to Sevierville a section of Chapman Highway was forced to close. The BP gas station located at the 22000 block of Chapman Highway was also forced to close due to high floodwaters.

In Blount County, a few apartments and homes were evacuated. Heavy rains were reported in Walland and Townsend. In Knox County major sections of roads on Middlebrook Pike, Papermill Drive and Kingston Pike were closed.

Schools in local counties were closed Monday and Tuesday due to the washed out roads and damage.

Sevier County made national news in USA Today where Capt. John Yu of the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, which helped with evacuations in neighboring Sevier County, stated, “In one case, a house was fully surrounded by water that was moving about 3 to 4 mph.

In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove was closed Monday due to the high waters.

Other areas hard hit were southeastern Kentucky’s Harlan and Knox counties where at least 65 homes were destroyed or damaged. There were also widespread reports of mudslides, power outages and flooding.

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