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It's been 10 years since historic, dangerous flash flooding swept through metro Atlanta, killing 10

Many of the scars remain, even after rebuilding and rebounding.

ATLANTA — Friday marks 10 years since disastrous flash floods swept the streets of metro Atlanta, killing some of those in the path.

Much of the area was gone - under water. 

The National Weather Service described what began on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, as no less than historic and catastrophic flash flooding.

Many of the scars remain, even after the rebuilding and rebounding. It took weeks before the water receded to its banks. 

11Alive took a look at some of the file video from that year, which shows entire communities underwater. 

"This house was flooded up to the gutters," Kimberly Willingham-Werner told 11Alive in one interview years ago.

Ten people were killed, eight of them while trying to drive through flooded streets. The floods caused major damage to nearly 17,000 homes and 3,500 businesses. 

Of metro Atlanta, Austell was one of the hardest hit areas. Clarkdale Elementary School was destroyed. The community came together to donate supplies to the school children.

Three years later, the school was built elsewhere on higher ground. And even five years later, many houses and the debris from inside them were still sitting abandoned. 

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Fast forward to now, flood plain boundaries have been moved further away from creeks and rivers, preventing new development. 

The 2009 floods were rare. 

The National Weather Service calculated the odds of that much rainfall in that short a time occurring even once, much less again, at 0.001 percent.


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