Rain collapses school roof in Dandridge

Associated Press • Jul 8, 2013 at 11:44 PM

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. — Nearly continuous heavy rain is blamed for the collapse of a section of the roof of a high school building in Dandridge. Risen streams also necessitated at least two swift-water rescues and swept away a fisherman; the latter in Kentucky.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported firefighters were called early Sunday afternoon and found about 5,000 square feet of the roof at the vocational building at Jefferson County High School caved in.

“As everybody knows, it’s been raining the past several days almost nonstop,” said Dandridge Fire Chief Andy Riley. “I’m going to say you’ve probably got some water-related issues that are the reason why it collapsed. No doubt about it.”

The school district was calling in structural engineers to see if the building could be saved.

Searchers were continuing Monday to look for a man who fell into Elkhorn Creek in Franklin County in central Kentucky. Sheriff Pat Melton told WLEX-TV in Lexington the man, in his late 20s, fell into the creek off Highway 460 and was pulled away by rushing waters. The man’s name was not immediately released.

The weather also forced the closure of a state highway in eastern Kentucky after mud slid onto it. Kentucky 1110 was closed in Breathitt County about a mile from Highway 15.

According to WYMT-TV in Hazard, about six inches of mud built up on the highway after heavy rain. Craig Chatt, who lives in the area, told the station mudslides are common along that stretch of highway.

Transportation officials closed the road, concerned that more mud or rock could slide onto it. The highway will likely be closed for couple of days.

Several areas of Kentucky also saw locally heavy rains and flooding, with at least one family in Russellville forced to temporarily evacuate their home. In western Kentucky, Ballard and McCracken counties were under a flood warning as water continued to rise near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

In other holiday weekend weather incidents in Tennessee, WRCB-TV reported a rescue team plucked a teenage boy from the Piney River in Rhea County, where he was clinging to saplings after his inner tube hit the trees and deflated. A friend who was tubing with him managed to get to a riverbank Sunday afternoon and call for help.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported firefighters and a swift-water rescue team brought 11 people riding inner tubes to safety in Blount County as the Little River ran high with rainwater.

Three Norfolk Southern locomotives and a rail car came off the tracks Sunday in west Knoxville after striking a tree that fell onto the rails. There was a similar incident Saturday night in Oliver Springs. No injuries were reported in either case.

Knoxville has received 4.9 inches of rain so far in July.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service said the Duck River at Centerville was expected to crest a few inches above flood stage Monday afternoon. A flood advisory was in effect through Tuesday.

NWS said conditions would be warm and muggy into Wednesday with only scattered thunderstorms. Another round of more organized storms was expected across both states on Wednesday and Thursday.

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