USGNN Original StoryGeorgia Glass and Metal Companies Speak Out About Recent Flooding
September 24, 2009

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency for 17 flood-stricken counties after massive flooding devastated those areas earlier this week. The floods did serious damage to many homes and businesses, including local glass and metal companies, whose employees say they are slowly but surely returning to "business as usual."

John B. McClatchey with Southern Aluminum Finishing (SAF) told™ that his company's Atlanta office had many problems, though they paled in comparison to the devastation that many residents and businesses in other parts of the city experienced.

"Our anodizing schedule was delayed by one day due to the excessive rainwater that needed to be removed from the line. We had no electricity on Monday morning and many employees were unable to get to work because the roads were blocked, their homes were surrounded by water or they had to stay home because their children's schools were canceled," he says. "We are just now getting caught up on the delays the flood caused and have compensated by doubling our efforts and are appreciative of the understanding of our customers across the country."

Penn McClatchey, also with SAF, added that none of the company's production facilities were damaged, "though we did have almost 20 inches of rain in 24 hours at our metal fabrication plant in Douglas County," he says, explaining that Douglas County was one area in particular hit hard by the floods.

"We had no electricity until mid-morning Monday and no water until yesterday. With 100 employees at this location we brought in plenty of drinking water, hand sanitizer and rented porta-potties," he adds.

One of the biggest challenges posed by the flooding was the difficulty it created for people to travel to work due to the numerous road closings.

"Many of our employees spent hours stuck in traffic. Most of the bridges over the Chattahoochee River were closed. The LTL carriers missed two days because they couldn't get to our Douglas County plant from Atlanta," says Penn McClatchey, adding that his own commute, which goes over the Chattahoochee on I-20, was also difficult.

"It normally takes me 40 minutes but I had to go up to Marietta and around to Dallas, Ga., making my commute closer to 90 minutes." He also adds that today is the first day his company's employees are back to 100 percent in attendance.

Alice Dickerson director of marketing with Vitro America says her commute was also affected.

"I worked from home on Tuesday because the floods shut down the interstate going east to Atlanta, but I really thought I could use an alternate route [Wednesday] morning and everything would be OK," says Dickerson. "It resulted in one detour after another and took three-and-a-half hours for me to get to my office in Atlanta, which is 24 miles from my home."

While it will take some time to repair all of the damages, some people are beginning to return to their daily schedules. Still, many agree that the recent flooding was something that was perhaps somewhat unexpected.

"Atlanta sits on relatively high ground; the average elevation is 1000 feet above sea level," says Penn McClatchey. "I've lived here for most my life and never knew this kind of flooding was possible."

John McClatchey adds, "This has exceeded the 'once-a-century' rainfall that climatologists predict for the area. It has certainly been a 'once-in-a-lifetime' event and has been a catastrophe to thousands."

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