Rising waters
Yellow River rises to 15-year high

COVINGTON - While Newton County has not been impacted as severely as some neighboring counties by the voluminous rainfall of the past several days, it may be catching up with Newton today when the Yellow River is expected to crest at 20 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Prognosticators are calling for "major and extensive flooding" for Newton County.

"It's very likely (the National Weather Service) will increase that (20-foot projection) due to recent rainfall in our area and north of us today," said Deputy Director Jody Nolan of Newton County Emergency/Risk Management Monday.

"This has not been seen for probably about 15 years," he added. "By 8 a.m. (today) it's supposed to crest."

Nolan said Monday morning the river was at about 10 feet and rising. More rain is expected for the area at least through Wednesday.

The evacuation of Riverside Estates Mobile Home on Access Road began Monday morning due to the expected flooding.

"The largest majority of the homes there are RVs and they're moving them to higher ground at this time," Nolan said.

Affected are between 10 to 25 homes in the park located on West Dollar Circle and Sycamore Road, according to a National Weather Service advisory.

No other homes or schools are reported to be in danger.

Nolan said at that time only Sockwell Road in Almon had been closed due to overflow of the Yellow River; however problems could arise involving Crowell Road.

He said the Alcovy River is also impacted by rising water levels and could result in the closing of East End Road.

Newton County Public Works is patrolling flood-prone areas and getting safety equipment and barricades in place should flooding occur, Nolan said.

Nolan cautioned motorists, saying that more people die from driving across flooded roadways than any other natural disaster. He warned though it may appear there are only a couple of inches of water on the road, the road could actually be undermined resulting in up to a 20-foot drop-off.

Newton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell warned, "Turn around; don't drown. If it's just a couple of inches of water, that's enough force to lift the car and push it into a waterway," he said.

Mitchell also warned that motorists need to slow down when driving in the rain.

"Needless to say, the biggest cause of accidents we work during rains is hydroplaning," he said.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.