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Cleanup underway after severe storms, floods ravage metro Atlanta

By Asia Simone Burns, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

#atlanta-ga (CNT) City News And Talk

Washout of track causes train derailment near Lilburn.

Communities across metro Atlanta are working on cleaning up damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Delta overnight.

Delta made landfall in southern Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane on Friday. As it crossed over North Georgia as a weakened storm Saturday night, it caused flash flooding, brought trees down and prompted dozens of tornado watches and warnings.

The intense rain caused a 170-car CSX train to derail near Main Street and Camp Creek Road in Lilburn early Sunday, officials said.

An occupant aboard the train called 911 about 1:45 a.m. and said the vehicle had left the tracks and was taking on water, Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services said in a news release.

When crews arrived, they determined 38 railcars had gone off the tracks, the agency said.

Two CSX employees were trying to get out of a locomotive that had turned onto its side, officials said. They were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Several of the cars were engulfed in flames, which prompted authorities to bring a hazmat team to the scene. Authorities determined the fire might have involved hazardous materials and evacuated neighbors who lived within a half-mile radius of the incident.

They were allowed to return to their homes about 5:30 a.m. after crews brought the fire and hazmat situation under control, Gwinnett officials said.

Crews are working to clear the wreckage from the train derailment. However, the Greenway Trail between Main Street and Harmony Grove Road will be closed for the next three days due to the cleanup, according to Lilburn city officials.

Meanwhile, in Newton County, officials are working to repair a homeless shelter that was damaged by a possible tornado, Channel 2 reported.

The severe storm destroyed the men’s quarter of the Rainbow Community Center in Covington, the news station reported. About 20 residents were watching television when the damaging winds blew through the area.

The building was no longer inhabitable after the storm, officials told Channel 2. Men who had been staying in the facility were housed in a gymnasium overnight.

Several drivers were left stranded after flash floods created dangerous road conditions across the metro area. Flash flood warnings were in effect across north Fulton County until 4 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. Flash flood warnings for other metro counties were also in effect overnight as heavy rain lingered in some areas.

In Atlanta, fire officials said they responded to over a dozen calls of cars stuck in water. It is not clear if any of the incidents resulted in injuries.

In Lilburn, Gwinnett fire and emergency officials rescued two people from a car after a flood trapped them inside.

The two victims were trapped after their car became submerged in water in the 500 block of HIllcrest Road, Gwinnett fire officials said. The victims were not injured, Gwinnett Fire said.

In Roswell, several roads remain flooded after the storms, according to the city’s police department. Azalea Drive and Willio Road are entirely closed due to water covering the roadway, officials said. Riverside Road is closed between Dogwood Road and Old Alabama Road, and Oakhaven Drive is shut down between Hickory Oak Hollow and Mountain Laurel Drive.