County road crews and LUB crews have been out working for almost 24 consecutive hours trying to bring things back towards normal. LUB’s Kenny Baird and Eddie Troxell state that power has been restored to all but approximately 120 customers. The water side of things is a bit more complicated. Pleasant Ridge, Cave Springs, and the Imperial Heights area of Davis Chapel are expected to come back on line soon. Water is also being pumped to the Stinking Creek holding tank as well. The Demory tank is close to capacity and normal pressure should be back there soon.
Still though, Troxell noted, many lines are currently submerged and possibly fractured. As water pressure rises they will begin to see if any areas are leaking and in need of further repair. Until things clear out from the flood, they won’t know for sure. It could still be several days before the system is fully restored to normal operations in the LUB service area.
County road crews are working vigorously to clear roads that were flooded and covered in debris. Some roads had several feet of muck and large rocks on them. Some roads saw large chunks of pavement ripped away. This was a common problem along the bases of the large ridges South and East of LaFollette. Water came off Pleasant Ridge, Camp Ridge, Blue Springs Ridge, and Coolidge Ridge among others, in torrents. In many cases the roads became river beds. Areas around even the smallest creeks and streams saw rampaging white water rapids develop.
In some areas creeks rose as much as 10 vertical feet in an hour, piling up huge logs and other debris along guard rails near bridges.
The entire clean up process will take several days. The county and LUB officials are hoping Campbell County will qualify for FEMA aid in the wake of this disaster. Otherwise budgets will be strained to the extreme for road and utility operations.
There are also many areas of high waters around homes in low lying sections of LaFollette and Long Hollow. Many citizens will need much aid from their neighbors as the recovery charges ahead. The loss of personal property will be quite large as many cars and trucks also flooded along with clothing, appliances and homes.
The rain isn’t over yet, with more rain chances through Monday afternoon according to NWS-Morristown. It is however, not very likely that Campbell County sees another 6+ inch rain event in two hours as happened Friday evening. Flash flood events at this level are extremely rare and this was something not seen in the area in living memory. Sadly though, this is the second rare flooding event this year in the region, with the last coming this spring as record setting aerial flooding, which is flooding that builds up slowly over time.