Fort O washout: dogs & truckers, but not all, heed warnings - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Fort O washout: dogs & truckers heed warnings, but some neighbors don't

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FORT OGLETHORPE, GA. (WRCB) -- For more than a day, Chickamauga Creek has washed out Mack Smith Road where it intersects with May Street in Fort Oglethorpe.

"We just don't know how high the water is coming up," May Street resident, Bruce Barnes says.

He looks to his neighbor's home on the corner, to know what to do next.

Wednesday afternoon, rising waters are above the foundation on three sides. It's not all that unusual.

"He's fished out the back door right here in the summer, sometimes," Barnes deadpans.

No time for that Tuesday night.

"We were trying to get everything picked out that might get wet and get ruined."

Their motorcycles and the mowers for his landscaping business are safe.

For now.

"Today's a lot worse than it was yesterday," he says.

The South Chickamauga Creek had topped 23.3 feet, about five feet above flood stage, reports Steve Quinn, director of Catoosa County Emergency Management Agency.

Barnes' neighbor's Pitbull knows it.

A yard sign advises 'Beware.'  But the pooch sits behind a chain-link fence on his owner's front porch, shivering.

Some two-legged neighbors haven't gotten the message.

"Hey, get out of the water," a Fort Oglethorpe Police officer commands a pair of twenty-somethings trying to traverse the washed-out road in a fishing boat.

Our Eyewitness News video camera captures the scene. The men take about three minutes to troll their rig to shore. Too far away to hear the interchange, body language makes clear neither the boaters, nor the officer, are pleased.

Barnes references the dollars lost in the last major flood, as testimony to the senselessness of the stunt.

"It (the flood) was up to the hoods of three or four cars," he says. "I was out about $30,000."

Catoosa County Schools operated on two-hour delay Wednesday, in part so that students could drive in daylight and know exactly where they were going, according to communications specialist Marissa Brower. 

"We've had an uneventful day at the schools themselves," Brower says. "The plan is to be back on regular schedule Thursday."

Two-year-old Kayden Webb might be too young for school. But the Mack Smith Road detour gave him a bit of show-and-tell just before noon.

"Truckee," says our boy of few words.

He was staring at an 18-wheeler whose driver tried to take the detour off of Mack Smith at Steele Road.  He turned too sharply, the right wheels of his trailer slipping into a ditch. 

Two towing companies would quibble over the job. Kayden, and mother Debbie Webb, would take in the scene.

"We were stuck on this side, anyway, and my husband needed to go the other way to work and I needed to go this way to go home," she says. "We just scooted out."

For her, an eyeful.

For the unauthorized boaters, an earful.

For Bruce Barnes, a day to be grateful.

"If it gets no higher than this, I'll be a happy camper."

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