Campers weathering storm in tents - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Campers weathering storm in tents

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Rain is impacting people's plans for a holiday that's normally celebrated with cook outs, fireworks and camping.

Hundreds of families in the area are weathering the storm right out in the elements, determined to spend their July 4th holiday at local campgrounds. Park rangers say they're keeping busy making sure everyone is staying safe.

"Three inches of water in the bottom of it and everything was soaked and I thought it was going to pick us up and blow us away," camper Scotty Orton said.

Hundreds of local campers like Orton are soggy.

"It dries out and then it rains, then it dries out and then it rains and then I don't now what it's trying to do anymore," he said.

But, they're sticking to their plans to spend the holiday outside.

"I'm staying. You bet," Orton said.

With more rain coming, they're putting up additional tarps.

"Kind of slope it with the tarp that way the rain doesn't hit the tents to where maybe it won't leak," camper Amanda Rainey said.

The Rainey family says they're just living up to their name, and will have fun regardless.

"You know as long as it's just rain, we don't care," Rainey said.

At Chester Frost Park in Hixson, rangers are going from campsite to campsite to check on camper safety.

"Warn everybody bad weather is in the area, hunker down if you're going to stay. Roll your awnings up and just hunker down," Lt. Noel McDaniel said.

They're keeping in contact with the Corps of Engineers and lock master on lake levels.

"It comes up very, very rapidly here," Lt. McDaniel said.

He says they may have to re-locate some campers from the lowest lying sites if waters get too high.
"This morning we had several people come in and get tent sites, which we try to give everybody a fair warning about the weather," Lt. McDaniel said.

Campfires are too wet to stay lit. After going to bed hungry, Orton bought a grill and shelter in order to withstand the rain for the rest of the week.

Chester Frost Park has more than 250 camp sites full. There's even a waiting list. Park rangers say they're hesitant to start filling their overflow lots because they're low lying and the first to flood.

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