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At least three horses killed in Georgia flooding

  • Story Highlights
  • Georgia couple put their 13 horses were in barns or on high ground before flooding
  • Couple scrambled to move some horses as barn flooded early Monday
  • By daylight, other horses in neck-deep water; family helped two swim away
  • Three horses later found dead; three others unaccounted for
By Tom Watkins
CNN
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- At least three horses -- two yearlings and a mare -- were among the victims of the flood that inundated much of Georgia Monday.

Floodwaters hit the ranch of Ed and Nancy Wellham on Monday. At least three horses died there.

Floodwaters hit the ranch of Ed and Nancy Wellham on Monday. At least three horses died there.

Jerrie Self said she called her parents, Ed and Nancy Wellham, on Sunday night to warn them to prepare their 13 horses housed in two barns and pastures on their 60-acre ranch in Powder Springs, Georgia, half an hour northwest of Atlanta.

"I told them, 'You might want to start getting your stuff out of the barns; I think it's going to get bad," the 40-year-old construction finance manager told CNN in a telephone interview.

"They had no idea how fast it was gonna come."

On Sunday night, Self's parents, Ed, 60, and Nancy, 59, made sure the horses were in the barns or on high ground and then went to sleep, she said.

At 3 a.m. Monday, the storm awakened their son-in-law, who lives in an apartment in one of the barns. After he opened the door and 3 feet of water flooded into the apartment, he called the Wellhams and told them the horses needed to be moved. Photo See photos of flooding in Georgia »

The family scrambled, putting two horses into a trailer and hauling it to the house, then leading several show horses onto high ground behind the house, Self said.

The other horses remained on two acres of unflooded pasture near Sweetwater Creek, and the family went back to the house, she said.

"They thought they'd be fine till daylight," she said.

But when they looked out again when it was light, the horses were in neck-deep water trying to swim to safety, Self said.

A neighbor said the creek had risen at the rate of 1 foot every 20 minutes.

"We all got here and we swam out the ones that could swim out," she said.

Though they got two horses out that way, "we thought all five babies and three mares were lost," she said.

That turned out not to be the case. At noon Monday, they found that two of the mares had swum through the woods and made it to high ground.

But they found the dead body of one of the mares and two yearlings floating in the water, and three other yearlings are unaccounted for, she said.

The Wellhams, who moved to the area in the early 1980s, use their land to grow and sell hay and breed horses. Ed Wellham also owns a car-repair shop.

"My dad has lots of equipment: tractors, hay balers," Self said. "Until the water goes down, we don't know what's salvageable and what isn't."

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She said her parents had tried to buy flood insurance years ago, but were denied, since their land is on a flood plain.

Self said her grandmother's home, which is also on the property, flooded so much that it is a total loss.

All About Floods

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