Area flooding is forecasted

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Decatur County was again hit by severe weather on Saturday as a string of storms moving through the area causing flooding over a number of roadways.

U.S. 84 East at the Grady County line was shut down for a period of time and flooding was seen on Highways 253, 310 as well as a number of Bainbridge City and Decatur County roads due to the water accumulation on the roads, according to Decatur County Fire and Rescue Chief Charlie McCann.

According to the Attapulgus Research Station, Attapulgus received 2.36 inches of rain on Saturday with maximum-speed wind gusts of 29.2 miles per hour. From March 26 to March 28, 5.3 inches of rain were reported to have fallen in Attapulgus.

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The National Weather Service is forecasting that heavy rainfall within the last week will cause the Flint River to reach its flood stage of 25 feet at Bainbridge on Thursday. As of 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, the river level was 23.5 feet. The level is expected to exceed the 25 feet flood stage by early Thursday afternoon and continue to rise to near 26.1 feet by Saturday evening. During the 1994 flood, the Flint River crested at 37.2 feet.

Because rain is forecast for Southwest Georgia during the next few days, persons with home or businesses that might be affected by high water levels are asked to monitor the weather.

“We want everybody to pay very close attention to the weather over the next few days,” said Kelly Godsey, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee office. “If we do get heavy rainfall, then we could see rivers rise very quickly.”

The Spring Creek at Iron City was already overflowing its banks on Monday, cresting at over 20.78 feet, but was dropping as of Tuesday when it was measured at 19.21 and is expected fall back below its 16 foot flood level.

Governor declares state of emergency

Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in six counties that were affected by the heavy rain and severe weather that passed through Georgia on Friday and Saturday.

The counties include Baker, Colquitt, Miller, Tift, Turner and Worth.

“This weekend’s storms brought nearly nine inches of rain to some areas of southwest Georgia, resulting in extreme flooding that caused the evacuation of homes, numerous road closures, downed trees and power lines,” said Perdue.

Nine bridges and more than 800 miles of roads were damaged in the counties. Nearly 100 homes were damaged. The Tift County 911 Center was struck twice by lightning and 50 residents were housed overnight by the Red Cross.