Rising water covers Cook County dam - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rising water covers Cook County dam

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

COOK COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Today, there's nothing little about the Little River. 

This week's heavy rainfall left the dam on Reed Bingham State Park's lake submerged beneath its rising waters. That lake is fed by the Little River.

Residents in nearby subdivisions are worried about the flooding that would occur if the dam should break.

"We've had lots of different agencies here to look at the dam and help us assess the situation," says Chet Powell, Park Manager of Reed Bingham.  "Right now, we don't have any major concerns, but we're monitoring the situation."

The situation is extreme.  The dam stands about thirteen feet tall.  Currently, the water is more than five feet over the dam, putting it over eighteen feet.

The Little River's normal flow for this time of year is between 200 and 400 cubic feet of water per second. At the height of this week's rain, the flow was 15,500 cubic feet per second.

The flow is carrying all sorts of large debris.  Park workers are working hard to keep all dangerous debris away from the dam.  Full-size trees have even been pulled from the lake.

Still, park workers do not believe the dam will break.

"Everything's ok right now. There is a very elaborate plan if that does happen. We don't anticipate that happening," assures Powell. 

A tornado passed above the dam last night, causing the park to be evacuated. Mark Turnage, was camping at the park with his wife when he heard the sirens.  "When you hear of a storm like that, you know it's time to get away. You don't play with a storm like that," Turnage says. 

While you can't currently see the Cook County Dam, officials assure those in nearby communities that the dam is there, and appears strong enough to withstand the coming storms.

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