Dougherty, Lee need to watch Fay's rain fall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty, Lee need to watch Fay's rain fall

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 19, 2008

LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) - South Georgia's creeks and rivers could see nearly a foot of rain as Fay crosses Florida into Georgia later this week.

Many resident remember what can happen to those creeks and rivers when a system stalls like Tropical Storm Alberto did in 1994. They're keeping a close eye on the path while public works crews work to lower holding ponds and clear sewer lines.

Preparation. That's the key to dealing with these tropical storms, but right now Crisp County Power and Georgia Power are taking a wait and see attitude before lowering Lake Blackshear or opening the dam here in Albany.

Residents along this creek however are anxious about what Fay might bring their way. Margaret Slaughter knows what it's like to be displaced because of rainfall. "In '94, it's unreal, but the top of this house there was only this much showing," she said.

Four years later in '98, after rebuilding her home, it was the same thing. The threat of Fay stalling over Georgia has her thoughts on the past and her eyes on the creek.

"If it stalls, I'm in trouble. If it just rains several inches it will run on off, but you never know," said Slaughter.

Years ago she could predict how much danger her home might be in, but she fears Lee County's growth has changed that.

"Since there's been so much building in Lee County, clearing of land, I guess moving the dirt around or whatever, but now every time it's different."

If her home is flooded by Fay, she won't rebuild this time. "I had the opportunity to sell out to FEMA, put my name on the list, then I got sentimental and I didn't do it, thinking that I raised my children here."

"People think they know and people do a lot for you and all, but it's like the old saying goes unless you've been there and done that, you don't really, really, know," she says.

The worst situation for people along the creek would be for Fay to continue north toward Atlanta dumping heavy amounts of rain over a short period of time, that could create the flooding issue residents along this creek fear.

Water experts say it's not how much rainfall we get here in Albany, what we need to be concerned with is how much rainfall falls north of us. That's what residents will be watching. Drought wise lower creek levels are welcoming news for those who live along the Kinchafoonee.

Public works crews in Lee and Dougherty Counties have been pumping out holding ponds in advance of the storm. Fay's effects may be felt here in south Georgia as early as Friday morning.

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