A massive water main break Wednesday morning has left residents outside Atlanta without water, sent water gushing into neighborhoods and flooded a major highway, closing businesses miles away and prompting more than 100 schools to close.

The break occurred in a 48-inch (120-centimeter) transmission main in the Doraville area, just northeast of Atlanta, DeKalb County said in a statement.

It was not immediately known exactly how many residents had lost water service or had low water pressure.

The situation was so severe that authorities opened the DeKalb County Emergency Operations Center and deployed state government resources to deal with the ripple effects from the break, officials said in a mid-morning update.

Among the effects: The county’s water plant was experiencing low pressure, and residents were being asked to conserve water. Eight water tankers were being brought to the county to supply water for fire protection and to provide some water at area hospitals, authorities said.

The break also left the DeKalb County Police headquarters in the nearby city of Tucker without water, authorities said.

Water was flowing across Buford Highway — a major artery through metro Atlanta — since before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, WSB-TV reported. Pictures published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed cars and buildings surrounded by water.

DeKalb County schools, Georgia’s third-largest school system, said all of its schools — more than 100 — were sending children home Wednesday.

The unexpected school closures left thousands of parents scrambling to make arrangements for their children since the school system serves about 102,000 students, according to its website.

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