SW GA is still wet as rain approaches - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

SW GA is still wet as rain approaches

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  As potentially severe weather moves into southwest Georgia, the entire region is under a flood watch until late Friday.

The National Weather Service issued warnings that some areas could see as much as five or six inches of rain.

Heavy rain could cause flooding in low lying areas and places with poor drainage.

It hasn't rained in Lee County in a week, but there's still water from January's showers. Lee County Public Works says the ground is still saturated.  They're not taking any chances, so they've already put pumps in place in anticipation of heavy showers.

Portions of Lee County remain under water.  Public works crews say the ground remains saturated and there's nowhere for it to go.  The runoff has caused hillsides to erode on Highway 32 and left dirt roads dirtless in spots.

"A lot of dirt's been washed out from the water running over the road and that's been our big hurting, trying to get the dirt out of the ditches and back on the road and get our pipes set back up," said Lee County Interim Public Works Director Mike Sistrunk.

Drainage ditches in Leesburg, are littered with debris, washed into the ditches during heavy rains.  Crews have been working non-stop over the last two weeks trying to clean the mess up.

"We've got a crew that basically does nothing but goes along there and redefines the ditches to get our ditches back in shape," said Sistrunk.

In Dougherty County, they've seen the same thing, a lot of debris in the lines.

"Especially with a lot of the leaves, pine straw, a lot of debris getting into the lines, into our ponds it's going to affect our pumps," said Public Works General Supervisor George Haggerty.

Crews have been cleaning catch basins and storm lines, all day, every day.

"The storm lines come from the catch basin so some times we have to clear out the catch basins and pull off the manhole cover and clean out the storm lines also because they get clogged,"  said JetVac Operator Al Watts.

With the holding ponds pumped down, crews feel they're in good shape for whatever rain mother nature may dump on southwest Georgia this time around.

During budget talks, public works asked the commission to consider purchasing two more pumps for the county to handle emergencies.  Public Works Interim Director Mike Sistrunk said they learned a lot of lessons two months ago and have made changes in an effort to avoid those problems this time.

Right now the National Weather Service is predicting the Kinchafoonee Creek will rise three feet by Sunday, cresting in the action stage at 10.6 feet.

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