CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. -- Residents across North Georgia are heading back to their homes. Now if Charles Hill can only find his lawn mower.

"When we get done cleaning up here, we've got to walk around the street and find the rest of our stuff," Mr. Hill said Wednesday as family members chunked dripping, dirty Christmas garland, furniture and other belongings into a trash heap beside Hood Street.

He figured his riding lawn mower took a little swim and is sitting somewhere in the neighborhood. He also had a rear axle for a car and several tools wash away.

The white picket fences and mailboxes that line the street where Mr. Hill lives are speckled by grass, leaves and other debris caught during the flood. Lines of debris indicating the high water mark still cling to houses, some lines only reach crawlspaces or basements, others are one-third of the way up the walls.