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Floodwaters are starting to recede after some of the heaviest rainfall the southern states have seen in more than a decade.

But a major thoroughfare that links Alabama and Georgia, Interstate 85, remains closed. The Chattahoochee River reached its highest level since 1961, with water touching the highway bridge above it. So, motorists traveling to Alabama are being sent on a 70-mile detour.

Flooding Thursday forced the evacuations of about 2,000 residents in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.

Emergency workers are still assessing damage from tornadoes and extensive flooding in the region. One storm-related death was reported in Alabama.

The Tennessee River is expected to drop below flood stage by Sunday. Chattanooga saw its worst flooding in three-decades. Damage estimates there are about $17 million.