Hardin Co. residents prepare for rise of Tennessee River


HARDIN COUNTY, Tenn. — “We got up around 5:30 and started working on the garage, getting it cleaned out, stuff moved upstairs, so it would be above the water level,” Bonnie Seawright said.

Seawright says she’s lived in Hardin County along the Tennessee River all of her life and has seen what flood waters can do to her home.

“When you live on the river — and people that have never lived on the river don’t understand — it can come up in four hours, six hours and be upon you,” Seawright said.

The Hardin County fire chief and EMA director said the Tennessee River has risen about seven feet since Sunday morning due to heavy rainfall, but the potential flood risk may have just begun for residents.

“The forecast is even if it’s sunshine and doesn’t rain a drop, it’s still going to flood here,” Fire Chief Melvin Martin said. “So the forecast is from the rain that has already happened in Chattanooga.”

Residents say it’s a numbers game when it comes to a potential overflow of the river, and to pay attention to how high the water rises.

“Somewhere around 378 is when you need to worry — 378/380 — about 380’s the worst time. You need to do something then,” Hardin County resident Stanley Cupples said.

Besides protecting your homes, Chief Martin also reminds people of the phrase “turn around, don’t drown.”

“The big thing we want to get out also is, if a road is flooded, don’t drive through the road,” Chief Martin said.

The chief said Coffee Landing Road is just one of the roads that is predicted to be underwater by Friday. He says to check the Hardin County Fire Department website for updates on all road closures throughout the county.

Officials said you can also use the website to keep track of the Tennessee River level.

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