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Lake rises as waters subside
flooding 1 by city park jd
Water gushes over a retaining wall at Cumming City Park on Monday afternoon as firefighters help a motorist stranded in a stalled car. - photo by Jim Dean


* Fall begins with day off.

Forsyth was among the 17 counties declared a state of emergency Tuesday in the wake of torrential rains earlier this week.

State personnel and equipment were being sent out to assist affected communities, which also included neighboring Cherokee, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency was working with state agencies, utility companies and volunteer organizations to coordinate disaster response and recovery activities.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Division were deploying boats and high-water vehicles, as well as testing water.

Other state agencies were providing manpower and additional resources.

According to a spokeswoman for the National Weather Service, nearly 10 inches of rain fell between Sept. 14 and Tuesday morning in Forsyth County, with some of the heaviest downpours on Monday.

As a result, Lake Lanier is rising rapidly, up more than 3 feet, to 1,067.55 feet above sea level, since 7 a.m. Sunday.

The flooding kept local public safety officials busy. As of Tuesday morning, five of the 25 roads affected by the extreme rainfall of the past couple days remained closed.

In addition, local fire and rescue workers performed a "swift water rescue" near Castleberry Road.

Fire Capt. Kevin Wallace said two people and two animals were pulled "from water runoff" that was affecting a home across from Whitlow Elementary School. No one was injured.

"The northwest end of the county got it the worst," Wallace said. "There were a lot of streams in that area that came out of their banks."

The fire department also rescued a woman from her van off Pilgrim Mill Road.

"Her van got stuck in the water right in front of City Park," Wallace said.

Crews also responded to a "large sinkhole" that shut down Shiloh Road. Wallace said Shiloh likely will be closed for several days while the county roads and bridges department fixes it.

Other roads still closed include: the intersection of Nicholson and Old Federal roads; McGinnis Ferry Road between McFarland and Union Hill; Grand Avenue in the Grand Cascade subdivision; and Watson Road, near the creek at Sawnee Mountain Park.

Wallace said authorities "kept up" with the weather Monday.

"We started allocating our resources, trying to accommodate everything that was going on," he said.

There was also a small structure fire Monday off Shiloh Road and another off Wallace Tatum. Neither caused injuries.

Wallace said the fire department activated its Emergency Operation Center, which is next to the E-911 center, on Monday.

He said officials were keeping a close eye on Big Creek near Union Hill Road and also Hwy. 9 and Castleberry Road, where the newly-built Big Creek Greenway trail is submerged and "looks like a lake."

Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Frank Huggins said there was one wreck over the weekend. Three people were taken to the hospital with injuries.

According to Jessica Fieux, National Weather Service forecaster, there is a 40 percent chance of rain today.

"Everything should be clearing out [after that]," Fieux said.

The weather has disrupted many activities this week, perhaps most notably closing school on Tuesday.

The 22nd annual Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce golf tournament was moved from Tuesday to Oct. 20.

The format, registration and start times (8:30 and 10 a.m.) and location (Windermere Golf Club) remain the same.