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Flooding causes officials to keep close eye on rising river

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: May 06 2013 04:30:02 PM CDT
Updated On: May 06 2013 02:52:04 PM CDT

A local river rises with fury following heavy downpours of rain in North Carolina. The rushing water sent the Nolichucky River in Washington County, Tennessee well over its banks. Click here to view photos of the flooding from around the region.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

A local river rose with fury following heavy downpours of rain in North Carolina.

The rushing water also sent the Nolichucky River in Washington County, Tennessee well over its banks.

A shelter, almost taken over by rushing water, might be all you'd recognize from Sammy Fellers' campground. On a normal day, you'd see at least four campsites. "The river's way over past those trees," Fellers said as he pointed several yards away.  

Monday afternoon that campground was under the Nolichucky River. The river that normally runs about three feet deep was up to 11-and-a-half feet, just six inches shy of flood stage. "In this case, North Carolina got quite a bit of rain last night, so we're seeing the effects of it," said Chad Bruckman, with the Washington County Emergency Management Agency.

The water got too close for comfort for residents who live near the riverbanks.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department and emergency management crews kept a close eye on the Nolichucky's raging water. "What we're looking at is what's going to happen tonight when North Carolina gets more rain," said Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal.

Several roads were closed after the streets were covered with rushing water. Officials deemed Bill Mauk Road, Charlie Carson Road, and Jackson Bridge Road were too dangerous to cross.

If the water continues to rise to dangerous levels, Sheriff Graybeal said they will evacuate residents. "We know if we need to call the fire department to help us, EMS, whatever, swift water rescue, that's what we're going to do to protect those people," added Graybeal.

In the meantime, Sammy Fellers, is keeping watch on the river from his smartphone. "Every hour you can get a reading on it," Fellers said.

Residents just hope for the best as Mother Nature inches closer to home.

We checked back with officials -- as of Monday evening, the Nolichucky River was receding and several roads were back open.