The Epic Floods of 2009

Updated Crest Table February 23, 2010

The Epic Floods of 2009, affected several counties in north Georgia, most of them in and around the Atlanta metropolitan area. Continuous rain, spawned by moisture pulled from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, fell faster than the local watersheds could handle.

Rain began falling across northern Georgia and the Atlanta area on September 15, 2009, with the National Weather Service reporting only 0.04 inches that day at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Additional rain fell throughout the week with the heavier rain beginning on the 17th. A large rain event began to inundate the area on September 19th and the National Weather Service observing station at the Atlanta airport recorded 3.70 inches of rain from daybreak to 8 p.m. This more than doubled the previous record for rainfall on that date, while outlying observing stations recorded 5 inches of rainfall in a 13-hour period. Multisensor rainfall estimates from the Southeast River Forecast Center indicated a narrow band of extreme rain around 20 inches for the six-day event.

Initial damages from around the state were estimated at $250 million but are expected to be closer to $300 million with the potential for it to rise higher. Some 20,000 homes, businesses and other buildings received major damage and 17 Georgia counties received Federal Disaster Declarations. The flood is blamed for at least ten deaths, and the majority of these people were in their cars and driving where water crossed the road. Hundreds of people were rescued by boat from their homes and neighborhoods.

These floods were historic, breaking records that go back as far as 1919. Twenty-eight new record high flood levels were established, due to high water inundating the river gages at these sites. In addition to these 28 gage locations, there were 7 other gages that will be included in the top five lists of all-time highest water levels.

The Sweetwater Creek Basin rose to the 500-year flood level during this event. This means there is a 0.2 percent chance of a flood of this magnitude occurring in a year. The Chattahoochee River and many of its tributaries reached the 100-year flood level which is a 1 percent chance of occurrence any given year.

River Crests
Heights & Dates
September 2009
Gauges which set records are highlighted in pink.   ** = second highest gauge reading
*** = third highest gauage reading   **** = 4th highest gauage reading.
Tennessee River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
New England | Lookout Creek 12 From 9/21 8:10am to 9/22 12:50pm 15.01 9/22 3:15am
Consauga River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Keiths Mill near Dalton | Coahulla Creek 16 From 9/21 11:57am to 9/24 5:11am
From 9/26 2:23pm to 9/29 4:00pm
20.03
20.59
9/22 6:30am
9/28 2:30pm
Eton 12 From 9/22 7:15am to 9/22 7:30pm
From 9/26 6:30pm to 9/28 2:18pm
12.14
15.34
9/22 2:15pm
9/27 7:45pm
Tilton 18 From 9/26 8:30pm to 9/26 10:39pm
From 9/28 7:10am to 9/30 4:00am
18.05
19.63
9/26 9:45pm
9/29 10:00am
Chattooga River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Summerville 14 From 9/21 9:04am to 9/22 10:36pm 21.19** 9/21 UNKNOWN
Etowah River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Dawsonville 13 From 9/20 8:37pm to 9/20 9:46pm
From 9/21 2:40pm to 9/22 6:59am
13.01
14.56
9/20 8:45pm
9/21 7:45pm
Free Home | Settingdown Creek 13 From 9/21 4:41pm to 9/22 8:20am 14.23 9/22 5:45am
Ballground | Sharp Mountain Creek 18 From 9/21 9:25pm to 9/21 9:35pm 18.00 9/21 9:30pm
Canton 16 From 9/21 12:03pm to 9/23 2:55am 20.73 9/22 8:30am
Woodstock | Little River 11 From 9/21 7:05am to 9/23 4:06am 20.80 9/21 UNKNOWN
Woodstock | Noonday Creek 10 From 9/21 4:45am to 9/22 7:07am 19.66 9/21 5:30pm
Blackwells | Noonday Creek 11 From 9/21 12:02pm to 9/21 6:40pm 17.31 9/21 5:30pm
Kennesaw | Butler Creek 12 Unknown to Unknown 14.27 9/21 UNKNOWN
Mars Hill | Allatoona Creek 13 From 9/20 2:07pm to 9/20 4:47pm
From 9/20 9:35pm to 9/21 7:02am
From 9/21 8:30am to 9/22 10:03am
From 9/26 5:00pm to 9/26 6:00pm
13.40
14.73
23.90
13.09
9/20 3:30pm
9/21 4:30am
9/22 3:00pm
9/26 5:30pm
Cartersville 18 From 9/21 7:20pm to 9/22 9:24am 20.73 9/22 2:00am
Plant Hammond - Coosa River 570 From 9/23 5:00am to 9/23 12:45pm 570.60 9/23 7:00am
Chattahoochee River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Suwanee | Level Creek 9 From 9/21 4:21pm to 9/21 7:38pm 11.60 9/21 5:30pm
Suwanee | Suwanee Creek 8 From 9/21 7:33am to 9/22 4:16pm 14.30 9/21 6:45pm
Suwanee | Dick Creek 10 Unknown to Unknown 11.72 9/21 UNKNOWN
Cumming | Big Creek 10 From 9/21 7:54pm to 9/22 12:36pm 10.43 9/22 10:15pm
Alpharetta | Big Creek 7 From 9/17 4:30pm to 9/17 7:22pm
From 9/20 8:42pm to 9/23 6:26pm
7.17
11.94
9/17 5:30pm
9/22 UNKNOWN
Roswell | Big Creek 12 From 9/21 9:47pm to 9/23 9:33am 15.41 9/22 6:30pm
Norcross 12 From 9/21 5:21pm to 9/22 4:34am 14.51 9/21 10:00pm
Norcross | Crooked Creek 11 From 9/21 3:06am to 9/21 10:03am
From 9/21 3:36pm to 9/22 4:20am
13.69
14.59
9/21 6:15am
9/21 6:15pm
Norcross | Willeo Creek 12 From 9/21 3:09am to 9/22 8:23pm 14.70 9/21 5:30pm
Marietta | Sewell Mill Creek 12 From 9/21 2:39pm to 9/21 5:46pm 13.26 9/21 4:15pm
Marietta | Sope Creek 12 From 9/21 2:38am to 9/21 9:26am
From 9/21 2:08pm to 9/21 10:17pm
15.33
18.35
9/21 7:00am
9/21 6:15pm
Mableton | Nickajack Creek 10 From 9/20 12:38pm to 9/20 3:04pm
From 9/21 5:04am to 9/23 10:48am
From 9/26 7:48pm to 9/26 11:28pm
10.55
19.85
11.10
9/20 2:00pm
9/22 7:00am
9/26 9:15pm
Doraville | North Fork Peachtree Creek 12 From 9/21 4:05pm to 9/21 4:35pm 12.93 9/21 4:15pm
Atlanta | North Fork Peachtree Creek 12 From 9/16 8:02pm to 9/16 11:31pm
From 9/21 2:02am to 9/22 3:01pm
From 9/26 7:09pm to 9/26 7:48pm
13.51
18.57
12.08
9/16 9:30pm
9/21 9:15am
9/26 7:15pm
Atlanta | South Fork Peachtree Creek 12 From 9/16 7:27pm to 9/17 12:45am
From 9/17 8:53pm to 9/18 9:38pm
From 9/21 1:28am to 9/21 2:13pm
From 9/21 4:05pm to 9/21 11:43pm
13.53
12.36
14.13
15.21***
9/16 9:00pm
9/17 9:00pm
9/21 11:45am
9/21 5:45pm
Atlanta | Peachtree Creek 17 From 9/21 3:53am to 9/22 6:02am 23.89** 9/21 9:15pm
Atlanta | Nancy Creek Rickenbacker Drive 11 From 9/21 4:44am to 9/21 12:12pm
From 9/21 4:08pm to 9/22 12:32am
13.03
14.69****
9/21 9:45am
9/21 9:30pm
Atlanta | Nancy Creek West Wesley Drive 17 From 9/21 10:02am to Unknown 25.46 9/22 UNKNOWN
Atlanta | Woodall Creek 15 From 9/21 7:18am to 9/22 3:33pm 23.61 9/22 1:00am
Atlanta | Proctor Creek 13 From 9/21 6:24am to 9/21 8:31am
From 9/21 4:36pm to 9/21 6:48pm
14.93
13.72
9/21 7:45am
9/21 5:45pm
Atlanta | Utoy Creek 18 From 9/21 2:54pm to 9/23 3:51pm 27.89 9/22 9:45am
Atlanta |Morgan Falls Dam Tailwater 822 From 9/21 7:05am to 9/21 11:48am
From 9/21 2:41pm to 9/22 12:04pm
822.59
827.01
9/21 9:15am
9/21 8:00pm
Vinings at U.S. Highway 41 14 From 9/21 3:46am to 9/23 6:57am 28.59 9/22 12:30am
Vinings at Paces Ferry Road 14 From 9/21 5:01am to 9/23 10:09am 28.10** 9/21 10:30pm
Atlanta at U.S.Highway 280 24 From 9/21 7:13am to 9/24 3:08am 35.98 9/22 UNKNOWN
Campbellton | Fairburn 20 From 9/21 5:19am to 9/24 9:38am 30.65** 9/22 2:59pm
Whitesburg 15 From 9/21 3:15am to 9/25 7:23am 29.84 9/23 8:30pm
Franklin 23 From 9/21 2:45pm to 9/25 3:48pm 30.55 9/23 9:00pm
West Point 17 From 9/23 2:00pm to 9/26 6:11am 18.92 9/25 9:15am
Powder Springs | Powder Springs Creek 12 From 9/21 12:26am to 9/22 5:42pm 19.82 9/21 UNKNOWN
Powder Springs | Noses Creek 11 From 9/21 1:45am to Unknown 23.20 9/22 UNKNOWN
Austell | Olley Creek 12 From 9/21 9:23am to Unknown 27.40 9/22 UNKNOWN
Powder Springs | Sweet Water Creek 13 From 9/20 10:33pm to Unknown 31.45 9/21 UNKNOWN
Austell | Sweet Water Creek 10 From 9/21 2:57am to 9/25 1:28pm 30.80 9/22 UNKNOWN
Fairplay | Dog River 13 From 9/20 10:22pm to Unknown 33.80 9/21 UNKNOWN
Whitesburg | Snake Creek Reservoir 13 From 9/21 5:11am to 9/21 1:31pm 16.99 9/21 7:15am
Whitesburg | Snake Creek 12 From 9/21 4:35am to Unknown 17.30 High Water Mark Survey
Bowden | Little Tallapoosa River 18 From 9/22 11:21am to 9/23 9:00am 18.48 9/22 7:30pm
Ocmulgee River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Lawrenceville | Pew Creek 11 From 9/21 4:18am to 9/21 11:28am
From 9/21 4:15pm to 9/21 9:42pm
16.69
15.00
9/21 6:45am
9/21 6:15pm
Lithonia | Yellow River at Georgia Highway 124 15 From 9/21 5:30am to 9/23 9:15am 27.47 9/21 UNKNOWN
Lithonia | Yellow River at Pleasant Hill Road 13 From 9/21 4:30am to 9/23 5:28pm 25.54 9/22 6:00 am
Conyers Below Milstead 11 From 9/18 12:45pm to 9/18 2:12pm
From 9/18 8:00pm to 9/20 10:35am
From 9/21 11:17am to 9/24 8:10am
11.08
11.47
22.54
9/18 2:00pm
9/19 2:15am
9/22 5:30pm
Milstead | Big Haynes Creek 12 From 9/21 8:17pm to 9/24 7:47am 22.46 9/22 8:30pm
Lawrenceville | Shoal Creek 11 From 9/21 4:59pm to 9/21 8:49pm 13.12 9/21 7:45pm
Lawrenceville | Alcovy River 9 From 9/16 12:05pm to 9/16 2:30pm
From 9/21 8:23am to 9/22 5:00am
9.70
13.87
9/16 1:45pm
9/21 10:15pm
Hapeville | South River 15 From 9/19 1:35pm to 9/19 5:36pm 16.62 9/19 3:30pm
Atlanta | Entrenchment Creek 11 From 9/19 1:12pm to 9/19 2:19pm 11.78 9/19 1:45pm
Lithonia | South River 12 From 9/21 5:37pm to 9/22 9:15am 13.55** 9/21 10:30pm
Conyers | Honey Creek 9 From 9/21 7:36pm to 9/22 1:31am 9.52 9/21 8:30pm
Macon 18 From 9/21 11:06pm to 9/26 6:52am 22.47 9/24 11:15am
Hawkinsville 20 From 9/26 5:15pm to 9/29 8:05pm 21.85 9/28 6:30am
Abbeville 12 From 9/25 5:15pm to 10/03 7:26pm 14.30 9/30 8:30am
Hawkinsville | Tucsawhatchee Creek 11 From 9/18 10:58pm to 9/19 8:04am
From 9/22 10:42pm to 9/23 9:45pm
11.46
14.13
9/19 2:15pm
9/23 4:15am
Oconee River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Dacula | Apalachee River 8 From 9/21 6:04pm to 9/21 7:18pm 8.56 9/21 6:30pm
Arcade | Middle Oconee River 16 From 9/22 10:10am to 9/22 9:06pm 16.51 9/22 3:45pm
Penfield 11 From 9/20 6:30pm to 9/24 9:47pm
From 9/27 8:51pm to 9/28 4:21pm
17.00
11.78
9/22 4:30pm
9/28 7:15am
Eatonton | Little River 20 From 9/17 11:51pm to 9/18 8:20am
From 9/21 9:48pm to 9/22 8:20am
22.40
24.70
9/18 4:00am
9/22 3:15am
Milledgeville 27 From 9/22 3:02am to 9/22 3:50pm 30.83 9/22 10:30am
Avant Mine Oconee 18 From 9/22 7:48pm to 9/23 5:34pm 18.64 9/23 3:30pm
Oconee 17 From 9/23 5:12pm to 9/26 4:37pm 20.20 9/24 2:00pm
Flint River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Byromville | Turkey Creek 10 From 9/22 10:54am to 9/23 5:40am 12.23 9/22 3:00pm
Savannah River Basin
River & Station Flood Stage
(Feet)
Above Flood Stages
(Date)(EDT)
Crest Stage
(Feet)
Crest Date
Washington | Kettle Creek 14 From 9/21 11:45pm to 9/22 5:05am 16.62 9/22 2:00am
Washington | Little River 19 From 9/22 3:18pm to 9/23 4:47pm 20.24 9/22 8:45pm


 

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