‘Massive amount of water headed our way’: Cocke County mayor, EMA order evacuation along rivers due to flooding

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(WATE) — The Cocke County mayor and Cocke County Emergency Management Agency have ordered the evacuation of all persons along area rivers due to substantial flooding in the area after rain swept across East Tennessee and western North Carolina on Tuesday and overnight Wednesday.

In a notice sent out late Tuesday night, Mayor Crystal Ottinger ordered the evacuation of all persons along the Pigeon, French Broad and Nolichucky rivers.

Local schools would be used as temporary shelters:

  • Bridgeport School
  • Parrotsville School
  • Cocke County High School
  • Cosby High School

“These should be used only as a last resort as they are not designed for long-term stays or comfort,” the mayor’s letter stated of the temporary school shelters.

Cocke County Schools are also closed Wednesday for students and staff due to flooding.

The Cocke County Emergency Management Agency also said late Tuesday that the flooding would be “unlike anything we have seen since 2004 and is being referred to as a 100-year event.”

“The point of origin for water we have not yet seen is Canton, NC,” Cocke County EMA officials stated on social media late Tuesday. “I cannot reasonably tell you how far to move from the water’s edge as I don’t know your elevation, or how much water will dissipate to farmland before it reaches you, or how much water will merge from contributories before they reach you. Please use your best judgment and move to a higher elevation and away from the water’s edge. Again, The dam is functioning as it should but there is a massive amount of water headed our way.”

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