ATLANTA, Sept. 22 (UPI) — The death toll from flooding in Georgia rose to seven Tuesday after a young boy died trying to reach a vehicle, Gov. Sonny Perdue said.
Perdue said most of the fatalities were caused by people driving on flooded roads, CNN reported.
“Stuff is important but it’s not nearly as important as your life,” Perdue said. “Please give these waters time to recede.”
Perdue Monday declared a state of emergency for 17 counties hardest hit by flooding. He said he planned to ask President Barack Obama to declare a federal emergency in Georgia.
Among the dead was a 2-year-old girl who was torn from her father’s arms by rushing floodwater as he tried to cling to bushes, CNN reported.
The weather prompted authorities to divert an Air France Paris-to-Atlanta flight to Knoxville, Tenn., on Monday, WVLT-TV, Knoxville, reported. Three domestic flights were also diverted to Knoxville to wait out the storms that hit several states.
Hundreds of roads were closed and people fled the rising waters in boats, kayaks, even on air mattresses — anything that floats, CNN reported.
Scattered showers were forecast Tuesday, with some areas expected to get another quarter-inch of rain. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for counties along the Interstate 20 corridor east of the Atlanta area almost to the South Carolina border, as well as several counties in central Georgia. Much of the rest of central and northern Georgia was under watches for flooding or flash flooding.
The murky Chattahoochee River flooded streets and seeped into businesses in Vinings, Ga., north of Atlanta. In the tony Buckhead area of Atlanta, water from Nancy Creek invaded multimillion dollar homes and submerged high-end vehicles.
The weather map for other parts of the United States indicates rain and some gusty thunderstorms moved into the lower Mississippi Valley and Texas Coast Tuesday, AccuWeather.com reported.
The Plains states saw some violent thunderstorms that produced golf ball-sized hail and wind gusts of up to 60 mph in some areas, AccuWeather forecasters said. Flash flooding problems also were reported.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International