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Update: Rains force school schedule changes, close county roadways

January 15th, 2013 9:59 am by Matthew Lane

Update: Rains force school schedule changes, close county roadways

State Route 93 along Horse Creek. Photo by David Grace

Update: 10:42 a.m.


KINGSPORT - A number of local school systems have been closed today or are expected to close due to heavy rains that have inundated the Tri-Cities region over the past 24 hours.


And late Tuesday morning the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reports five roads have been closed throughout the county, while Kingsport's public works director is checking on areas prone to flooding.


The Sullivan County School System announced its schools would be letting out at 11:30 a.m. due to inclement weather. Kingsport City Schools did not alter its schedule on Tuesday and has not announced any closures, though school officials say they are monitoring the situation. Marybeth McClain, communications editor at KCS, said central dispatch has not received any calls about flooding and as such (KCS) would not be closing on Tuesday.


Public Works Director Ryan McReynolds said he plans to drive out to some of the areas in the city, such as along Reedy Creek and in the Sullivan Gardens area, that are prone to flooding, to see first hand how the rains are impacting the roads.


"This is one of those long, soaking type rains where the larger creeks, like Horse Creek and Reedy Creek, and low-lying areas will have a lot of standing water. It’s not so much as a flash flood type of rain," said Ryan McReynolds, public works director for the city. "The normal areas around town will have some standing water, but there’s not a tremendous amount of road impact."


The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office reports five roads have been closed in the county; Highway 93 at Horse Creek in Kingsport, the section of Orebank Road near Archcrest Street in Kingsport, Reservoir Road at Long Hollow Road in Kingsport, Tate Road in Bluff City, Huffman Hill Road in Piney Flats.


Hawkins County Schools were originally on a two-hour delay Tuesday because of the weather. However, Assistant Director of Schools Steve Starnes said the call was made around 8:15 a.m. to cancel school.


"Once the buses started getting out on the road, we realized the conditions were worse than anticipated. Transportation said some of the bus drivers could not get their buses out of their driveways," Starnes said. "There’s just pockets all across the county that had issues, some roads flooding and standing puddles of water. We just felt it was an unsafe condition for out students and drivers."


Starnes said the school system would continue to monitor the weather situation throughout the day and make the call late this evening or early tomorrow morning whether schools would be delayed or closed on Wednesday.


Tuesday is the first day Hawkins County has missed due to inclement weather, treating the day essentially the same as a snow day.


Superintendent of Scott County Schools John Ferguson initially said officials were monitoring the situation. At 11 a.m. he announced schools would close at 1 p.m. as conditions have worsened.


Washington County and Carter County schools will dismiss today at 10:30 a.m. due to the weather and schools in Johnson County were delayed by two hours due to the potential for flooding. Greene County schools were also closed today due to the heavy rains.


The National Weather Service is predicting a 100 percent chance of rain today and tonight, ending at around noon on Wednesday. The entire region is also under a flood watch.


Tri-Cities Regional Airport reported "very few" flight delays despite ongoing rain. "Kind of surprising considering the weather," Melissa Thomas, TCRA's director of Marketing and Air Service Development, said in an e-mail.


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KINGSPORT - A number of local school systems have been closed today or are expected to close soon due to heavy rains that have inundated the Tri-Cities region over the past 24 hours.


The Sullivan County School System just announced its schools would be letting out at 11:30 a.m. due to inclement weather. Kingsport City Schools did not alter its schedule on Tuesday and has not announced any closures.


Hawkins County Schools were originally on a two-hour delay Tuesday because of the weather. However, Assistant Director of Schools Steve Starnes said the call was made around 8:15 a.m. to cancel school.


"Once the buses started getting out on the road, we realized the conditions were worse than anticipated. Transportation said some of the bus drivers could not get their buses out of their driveways," Starnes said. "There’s just pockets all across the county that had issues, some roads flooding and standing puddle of water. We just felt it was an unsafe condition for out students and drivers."


Starnes said the school system would continue to monitor the weather situation throughout the day and make the call late this evening or early tomorrow morning whether schools would be delayed or closed on Wednesday.


Tuesday is the first day Hawkins County has missed due to inclement weather, treating the day essentially the same as a snow day.


Schools in Scott County, Va., have not been affected by the heavy rains, but Superintendent of Schools John Ferguson said the system is monitoring the situation.


"Right now we’re still in session," Ferguson said. "We’ve been out looking around, like any other place and I’ve looked at the weather map. We’ve had a call or two from people looking into it, but for the most part the water is well within its banks. It’s rising, but not at the flood level stage yet."


Washington County and Carter County schools will dismiss today at 10:30 a.m. due to the weather and schools in Johnson County were delayed by two hours due to the potential for flooding. Greene County schools were also closed today due to the heavy rains.


The National Weather Service is predicting a 100 percent chance of rain today and tonight, ending at around noon on Wednesday. The entire region is also under a flood watch.

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