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Weekend severe weather causes 'rare' rainfall in Georgia, deadly flash flood in Indiana

Thao Nguyen
USA TODAY

Flash flooding and severe weather this weekend in the Midwest and South have led to at least one death and widespread infrastructural damage.

The heavy rains were expected to continue through the week, moving toward the northeast.

In southeastern Indiana: One woman died in a flash flood that also damaged numerous homes and washed away several roads. In Jefferson County, 9 inches of rain fell Saturday and caused infrastructural damage.

In northwest Georgia: The governor declared a state of emergency Sunday in Chattooga and Floyd counties as two days of thunderstorms and heavy rain pounded the state's north. 

In northeast Alabama: The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency near the northeast border, where a total of 12 inches of rain fell in the town of Lyerly.

In Ohio: Heavy rains hit parts of north and central Ohio with the weather service putting both regions under a flash flood watch through Monday evening.

A young man walks his dog along a flooded Bittings Avenue on Sunday, Sept, 4, 2022, in Summerville, Georgia. Thunderstorms and heavy rain pounded parts of northwest Georgia on Sunday, sparking flash flooding in some areas.

1 dead after flash flooding in Southern Indiana

A woman was found dead in rural southeastern Indiana when heavy flooding and rain swept away her home in the community of Manville, the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency said. The identity of the woman wasn't immediately released and no other injuries were reported. 

Two homes were also destroyed and more than 20 buildings were damaged, according to the agency.

Fast-rising waters were seen to have swept away several vehicles and uprooted trees. At least two damaged bridges were closed indefinitely, according to Jefferson County officials, while the state highway department closed a bridge for repairs.

Chattooga, Floyd counties in Georgia see 'rare' heavy rainfall 

Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms flooded roads and homes in northwest Georgia on Sunday, prompting a state of emergency in a region saturated by more than 10 inches of rain in 12 hours.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency for Chattooga and Floyd counties, and the National Weather Service advised residents to stay on higher ground and avoid traveling through floodwaters. Both counties were under a flash-flood watch through Monday evening, according to NWS.

“Multiple roads are flooded and impassable in Floyd County, GA! High water signs are up so make sure to heed the warnings and not drive through flooded roadways!” the NWS tweeted.

Trash cans from JR Dick Dowdy Park wash up outside of the Coach Inn on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, in Summerville, Georgia.

Video footage and photos on social media showed homes and businesses swamped by floodwaters and submerged cars in flooded roads. Many residents of the region were trapped in by waist-high waters.

While NWS meteorologist Marc Chenard said the heaviest rain had moved out of the immediate area, he warned additional thunderstorms were possible through the evening hours.

"It's unlikely that the additional rainfall will be anything like what's already happened, but there's still a similar risk with some additional rain there," Chenard told USA TODAY.

Residents of the city of Summerville in Chattooga County were advised to boil water prior to drinking and cooking due to flash flooding at a local filter plant, according to the city's website.

DROUGHTS AND HEAT WAVES: Will it get worse? Yes, experts say.

Severe weather to continue across Midwest, South

A general flash flood threat will continue across northern Georgia, northern Alabama and the western Carolinas, according to the weather service.

The heavy rainfall in the region is a “rare” occurrence, Chenard said, but he added that flash flooding typically peaks during the summertime in states like Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Kentucky saw historic floods that killed at least 39 people and caused widespread damage in late July and early August. Jackson, Mississippi, was also under a state of emergency after days of heavy rains drenched the region.

Although flooding in these states is not "abnormal," Chenard said recent events have been "significant in nature and not all that common."

Contributing: The Associated Press

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