Thursday rains empower dynamic Doe on Friday

John Thompson • Jul 7, 2017 at 10:55 PM

ELIZABETHTON — You can always count on getting a rise out of the Doe River when there’s a cloudburst in the Roan Mountain area.

That was especially true in downtown Elizabethton after heavy storms struck the highest portions of Carter County on Thursday evening and early Friday morning. Overnight, the storm transformed the normally tranquil Doe River into a raging torrent; the stream became so swollen it threatened to overflow its banks in downtown Elizabethton.

The river was not only much higher than normal, it was muddier. Several logs were floating in the turbulent water.

The stream seemed especially violent at the historic Covered Bridge and the weir dam just downstream. The water roared and churned at the point where it met the dam. Just down from the dam, the river was so swollen it covered sections of the Riverfront Bike Trail with a few inches of water. The current was so strong that even the local duck population remained close to shore all day.

Gary Smith, director of the Carter County Emergency Management Agency, said one resident in the Roan Mountain area said his rain gauge recorded four inches of rain.

Smith said several private bridges were washed away, but all the state and county roads and bridges were undamaged. Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said branches and whole trees had been lodged in culverts, plugging them up and blocking drainage in some locations.

Smith and Humphrey said the worst problems were in the Simerly Creek and Ingram Branch areas.

Damage from the storm can be reported to Smith at 542-1888.

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