Flash Flood in USA on December 29 2018 05:00 AM (UTC).
Most of the metro area and north Georgia will remain under a flash flood watch through early Saturday as Atlanta nears record rainfall. Heavy rain Friday felled trees, swelled rivers and flooded roads, closing streets and stranding several drivers who had to be rescued from the rising waters. A woman in Cobb was saved by emergency responders when her van got stuck in the Vinings area, where the Chattahoochee River overflowed its banks. Another man was rescued from floodwaters in southwest Atlanta after he swerved to avoid a falling tree. In dramatic footage posted by The Dahlonega Nugget, rescue crews used a ladder as a makeshift bridge to pull a woman and her baby to safety after their vehicle plunged into a creek in Lumpkin County. Both were uninjured, according to the Nugget's report. Officials urged caution heading into the weekend, when the weather is expected to ease somewhat with intermittent showers. But Channel 2 meteorologist Katie Walls warned flooding remains a concern. "The next big wave of rain, unfortunately, it's arriving right in time for New Year's Eve into New Year's Day," she said. By Friday, 2018 was the second-wettest year on record for Atlanta with more than 69 inches of rain. The year to beat is 1948, when 71.45 inches fell. Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric science program at the University of Georgia, said 2018 was an extremely wet year for the entire eastern United States. He attributed the heavy rainfall to several factors, including hurricanes Michael and Florence, and said it was also consistent with global warming. "In a warming climate system, we're going to see more intense, wetter systems," Shepherd said. He downplayed comparisons between this weather event and the massive rainfall that caused deadly floods in 2009, but added he "wouldn't rule it out" if the rain continues into the middle of next week. Those historic floods a decade ago took ten lives, damaged more than 20,000 homes and businesses and permanently altered the landscape of some areas. In Sandy Springs, three homes destroyed by the 2009 flood were torn down and replaced with Windsor Meadows passive park. On Friday, Windsor Meadows and several other North Fulton parks were flooded.