The recent storm that hit Knoxville overnight on Wednesday into Thursday brought about an uncommon type of weather formation, resulting in significant flooding in certain neighborhoods. Glenn Carrin, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service, described this storm as “definitely not common” due to its stationary nature over Anderson and Knox counties. Unlike typical weather systems that pass through quickly, this storm lingered, bringing a full night of thunder and lightning. Interestingly, some areas experienced drastic rainfall while others remained mostly unaffected. For instance, Powell received over 6 inches of rain, while nearby neighborhoods had just 2 inches.
Carrin explained, “The vast majority of rainfall occurred during the early evening with the first wave. The storm kept forming over the same area for several hours before the main line finally came through. To have a system that persistent for that long, with such intense thunder and lightning, is not common, although it’s not unprecedented.”
This storm’s impact was not limited to East Tennessee. Similar heavy rainfall occurred on the other side of the Great Smoky Mountains in Marble, North Carolina, resulting in flooding. As the sun rose, parts of Anderson and Knox counties found themselves inundated with floodwater, rendering many roads impassable. The National Weather Service issued warnings about rising creek levels and advised a handful of evacuations. Along Pop Hollow Road in Anderson County, four vehicle rescues were necessary.
Mayor Terry Frank urged residents, “If you don’t have to venture out, please stay home. If leaving is unavoidable, exercise extreme caution and avoid driving through floodwaters.”
A video shared by the Knoxville Police Department revealed the extent of the flooding in the Fort Sanders neighborhood. Knoxville Fire Department crews successfully rescued four individuals from their apartment. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. The Knoxville Police Department also provided a list of roads that were temporarily closed, most of which have since reopened.
In terms of damages, the intersection of Central and Irwin streets required repaving due to asphalt failures. Jim Snowden, Knox County Highway Director, explained that downed power lines caused multiple road closures, which would reopen as soon as utility companies restored power. He anticipated that all roads would be reopened by the end of the day.
To report flooded roads in Knoxville, contact the city at 865-215-4010.
Although the National Weather Service predicted that showers would cease by early afternoon across East Tennessee, localized flooding remained a concern due to the significant accumulation of rainfall. The Morristown branch of the National Weather Service also warned about the possibility of isolated damaging wind gusts.
While parts of Pigeon Forge experienced up to 2 inches of rain, leading to rising streams, Sevier County reported no flooding incidents as of the morning.
As the weekend approaches, dry weather will prevail, but dangerously high temperatures will push heat index values into the 100s.