One week after floods ravaged a Gatlinburg campground, the National Weather Service reveals no rain gauges near flooding

Closest river gauge to Greenbrier Campground is above Gatlinburg or in Newport.
After flooding sent hundreds scrambling from a Gatlinburg campground, could a river gauge have prevented the whole panic?
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 11:13 PM EDT
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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - One week after floods hit a Gatlinburg campground sending hundreds scrambling for higher ground, the National Weather Service breakdown how many river gauges are in the area.

During the flooding Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, campers had little to no warning something was awry.

”There was no emergency warning on the phone, there was no sirens from the camp, there was no people from the camp shouting,” said Chris Lenehan one week ago.

Lenehan and his seven-year-old son held on for dear life while flood waters ripped past them as they slept in a tent in the primitive camping area of Greenbrier Campground.

”I was preparing myself to die with my son,” said Lenehan.

In a conversation with a National Weather Service Hydrologist, WVLT News learned there is no river gauge near the Greenbrier Campground.

The NWS hydrologist confirmed there is a gauge in the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River along 441 above Gatlingburg. It was installed after the Chimney Top Fires, according to the NWS Hydrologist.

The river that runs past the Greenbrier Campground is the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River, a prong without a river gauge.

Officials with the NWS added the closest one to the Greenbrier Campground after the one in the West Prong along 41 is in Newport.

In an email to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials said the Sevier County Emergency Management is the agency that controls the implementation of the river gauges.

WVLT News reached out to officials with Greenbrier Campground but did not receive a response.

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