The Great Atlanta Flood, 2009

As many of you know, there was an abnormal amount of rain on Monday that led to many areas of the region being left under water. While I was not affected, although an area less than 5 miles from my apartment was, I spent the first part of the day inside.

Around 2:30 though, I got a call from AJC Visuals Manager Ben Gray about possibly pulling a shift for the paper because their photographers had all gotten early days and they needed people to be around at night.

About an hour later I got a call sending me up to Gwinnett to look around for general flooding and property damage.  I drove around for awhile until finding myself across the street from Parkview High School.  These soccer fields across from the school were completely under water.  I didn’t expect many people to be out in the rain, but I was surprised to find two people walking around the fields, as well as a police officer assessing a nearby bridge.  Conveniently enough, one of the people walking the fields was the President of the Gwinnett Soccer Association.

Then I headed down to Lake Lucerne, which I remembered had a Starbucks sitting on it.  In hopes of getting a photo similar to one my friend Woody Marshall had of a man eating some food at a Waffle House while a fire raged across the street, I set out to see if anyone was there.  Along the way though I noticed a street completely under water, and there were some people looking at it.

After leaving there I drove up to Snellville and was directed by a friend of mine that there was a neighborhood with really bad flooding right off of the Yellow River.  After I got there I took some photos of a guy who was navigating the streets via jet ski, found out though that most of the stuff I shot had already been covered by the paper but set out to find a place to sit down and edit the photos to send anyway.

Shortly after arriving at the Marriott on Pleasant Hill, I received a call from Breaking News Editor Mike Benzie that a shelter was being set up at the First United Church in Lawrenceville, made my way up there to find an empty shelter, not including the numerous volunteers.  After consulting with Mike I began to prepare a photo to send in, when I got another call saying that there was going to be a boat rescue from a house down in Snellville that was flooded up to the second floor.

Made my way down there as quickly and safely as possible and got there just in time to see the boat leaving the “shore” of the street.  A few minutes later, the boat came back with everyone safe.  By this point it was nearly 11:30 and I was ready to go home.

It was a long day, but I enjoyed it.  It was the first real spot news I covered in the county and it was interesting to see a boat rescue.  Thankfully the rain was non-existent today and hopefully the water will recede and the people affected by the floods will be able to start putting their lives back together.

All photos were taken by me and are copyright the Atlanta Journal Constitution and posted here with their permission.

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9 thoughts on “The Great Atlanta Flood, 2009

  1. Really nice camera work. I think the last shot is my favorite…it captures how chaotic and surreal being in a flood like this can be.

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