HUNTSVILLE — Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals has declared a state of emergency in Scott County.
Tibbals made the declaration to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon, declaring Scott County to be in a state of emergency due to in excess of $900,000 in flood-damaged roads and requesting financial assistance from TEMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
On Friday, Scott County Road Superintendent Kelvin King told the Independent Herald that his office had submitted damage estimates between $500,000 and $600,000. However, that cost continues to go up. On Saturday morning, another road — Clay Boyatt Road in West Oneida — became impassible after a sinkhole opened in the roadway between Big Ridge Road and Atomic Lane. The road remained closed in either direction Saturday afternoon.
A major landslide along Norma Road between the Norma community and Smokey Junction in eastern Scott County has resulted in one lane closed, and there have been several smaller slides along both Norma Road and Brimstone Road. The Road Department has also made several repairs related to drainage and flooding issues. King said his crews have worked six days a week for the past three weeks to try to stay abreast of the situation.
February 2019 will end next week as the wettest February on record in Scott County. Unofficial data indicates that Winter 2018-2019 will end as the wettest winter on record, as well.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will consider Scott County’s request as part of an emergency disaster declaration for damages across the state, which must exceed $9 million. That seems likely, given the widespread nature of recent flooding rainfall. On Friday, Overton County — located at the western base of the Cumberland Plateau and sharing a border with Fentress County — declared a state of emergency after floods forced evacuations.
Scott County also had emergency evacuations due to floods this week. On Wednesday, the Scott County Rescue Squad and 7th District Volunteer Fire Department were deployed to assist with evacuations along Pine Creek in the O&W area.
While the governor has not yet issued a statewide emergency declaration, local states of emergency are authorized under Tennessee Code 58-8-104.