Morgan County homeowners on Emory River evacuate for flooding


OAKDALE, Tenn. (WATE) – In Morgan County, families living closest to Emory River were evacuated on Thursday.

More: Emergency shelters opening as flood conditions continue in East Tennessee

As flooding conditions persist in East Tennessee, emergency shelters are opening to help homeowners. A shelter was opened at Oakdale United Methodist Church. Morgan County leaders said Oakdale was among the hardest-hit areas.

Harvey Love and his family were among those evacuated. His home is right on the river and by Thursday afternoon, his front yard had become part of the river.

“I’m hoping that it doesn’t do enough to cause any major foundation issues,” Love said.

On the other side of the street, Vincent King and his family were able to stay in their home.

“This is the highest I’ve ever seen it,” he said.

King says he feels lucky living farther away from Emory River.

“If it starts getting up in the driveway, that’s when I’ll be worried.”

Related: List of roads affected by flooding in East Tennessee

County leaders are continuing to worry about homeowners who live in the area.

“Oakdale is the hardest hit. It generally is with the Emory River. It’s supposed to crest at 32-feet and flood stage is 27-feet,” Jody Zorsch, director of Morgan County Emergency Management, said.

Because the river can be dangerous, crews are monitoring conditions and closing roads as needed.

“Priority number one is keeping our citizens safe,” County Executive Brian Langley said.

There has been flooding and roads have been washed out across the county.

“All this rain that’s in the ground has got to go somewhere so it’ll be soaking up and running in the rivers and creeks. It’s going to be a mess,” Zorsch said.

The Love family’s yard is going to be a mess for some time.

“I’m worried about the rain in the plateau that runs through my backyard,” Love said.

“I hope it quits raining, and I hope everyone’s safe. That’s the main thing,” King added.

As floodwaters recede, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is asking drivers to be cautious and check for closed roads.

“It’s not worth it. Water is quick and rapid. It’s not worth trying. Just stay safe. Like I said, if you’re trying to get out of your house today there’s a good possibility you won’t get where you’re going anyway, so just stay home,” Sheriff Wayne Potter said.

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