Rain pounded Georgia on Sunday, triggering intense flash flooding in northwestern parts of the state.
Drone footage, captured by local news station Fox5, showed neighborhoods, factories and roadways under several inches of brown water.
Some areas of Chattooga and Floyd counties received up to 12 inches of rain (30cm) in a 24-hour period, with more downpours forecast early this week.
The flooding knocked out water service to parts of Chattooga County, authorities said.
The city of Summerville, around 90 minutes drive north of Atlanta, advised residents who use the city’s water utility services to boil water prior to drinking, cooking or preparing baby food due to flash flooding at the Raccoon Creek Filter plant. It wasn’t clear on Monday how long it would take to make repairs to the system.
DRONE VIDEO: @GovKemp has declared a State of Emergency in Chattooga and Floyd Counties. Here is #SKYFOXDrone video captured in Summerville, Georgia that shows some of the damage in the hard hit communities. Georgia’s first responders are hard at work right now. @FOX5Atlanta #wx pic.twitter.com/K0aTtMipcn
— Billy Heath III (@BillyHeathFOX5) September 4, 2022
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in both counties following the severe flooding, directing all state resources to help with “preparation, response and recovery activities”.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said rainfall of up to one inch per hour was causing creeks, streams, roadways and urban areas to experience unusually high levels of water.
“This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation. Do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order,” the service said.
Stalled systems and moisture pouring in from the Gulf of Mexico was causing thunderstorms and the chance of heavy rainfall in 20 states this Labor Day.
The NWS has forecast excessive rainfall until Tuesday in Texas, through parts of the southeast, and up the eastern seaboard as far as Maine.
Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia were under flash flood watches through Monday evening, NWS reported.
The United States faces greater risk of “flashier” floods as the climate crisis worsens.
The country will experience more frequent and more extreme flash flood events by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions rise unabated, according to a study published in the journal Communications Earth and Environment in April.
Recent incidences of flash flooding have proven to be deadly. This summer, rapid onset floodwaters in eastern Kentucky killed at least 38 people, with countless others left needing to rebuild destroyed homes and towns.
AP contributed to this report