Georgia Governor Seeks Federal Emergency Declaration as Flood Death Toll Rises

ATLANTA, Sept. 23 (UPI) — Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue asked for a federal state of emergency declaration as flood-related deaths rose to nine and scores of highways were closed.

Georgians could catch a break from more heavy rains Wednesday, with scattered showers forecast throughout the day along the East Coast to the Mid-Atlantic states, reported.

Students from three of metro Atlanta’s four largest school districts returned to school after flooding forced classes to be canceled Tuesday, CNN reported.

Interstate 285 reopened by Wednesday, although parts of Interstate 20 were still closed. Many roads in badly flooded areas also were closed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was reviewing Perdue’s emergency request Tuesday, while Georgia’s congressional delegation contacted the White House, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine estimates the storms caused $250 million in damage.

Perdue’s declaration of a state of emergency for 17 counties Monday was the first step in the process of getting federal aid, which could pay for at least 80 percent of the transportation repair costs.

Meanwhile, the weather-related death toll rose to nine Tuesday when Douglas County officials reported a woman’s body was discovered after her car was swept into a creek that overflowed its banks.

Several people remain unaccounted for.

While Georgia could begin to dry out, forecasters said South Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley could see heavy rain and thunderstorms, along with the threat of flooding.

Widespread flash flooding could occur in South Texas, eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, western Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky, forecasters said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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