Flooding now a concern in fire-ravaged Gatlinburg

Aerial shot of fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee from Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.


By DOYLE RICE | USA Today (Tribune News Service) | Published: November 30, 2016

From one extreme to another in Gatlinburg, Tenn.: Two days after deadly and devastating wildfires, flooding was a concern Wednesday.

Rainfall totals of 1-2 inches were likely across Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains on Wednesday, the National Weather Service predicts. "Areas that experienced burning can see a threat of flash flooding," the weather service in Morristown, Tenn., said in a tweet.

The Gatlinburg area got about 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch of rain overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, the weather service said. This was from the same system that spawned severe storms and deadly tornadoes overnight across other parts of the South.

But despite the rain in Gatlinburg, officials say there are still active fires in the area. Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener told the Associated Press that any rain will help, but the fires are still an "ongoing situation."

There were 19 wildfires burning across six Southeastern states as of Wednesday morning, the U.S. Forest Service said. The fires have killed four people in Tennessee and injured about four dozen, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters said Wednesday. At least 150 buildings have been destroyed and more than 14,000 people have been forced to flee the resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Widespread rain and a few thunderstorms are expected from the Gulf Coast to New England on Wednesday. Yet another storm will deliver more welcome rain to the Southeast over the weekend, the Weather Channel said.

The rain will continue to ease drought conditions that have parched much of the South and Northeast over the past two months.

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