Soaking rains dent, don't bust drought - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Soaking rains dent, don't bust drought

Soaking rains fell across south Georgia this past weekend giving the region what it needed most, a little relief.

Rainfall amounts were varied from county to county and while some saw as much as five inches, others saw less than a tenth of an inch.

Water experts say the rain we got was not a drought buster, but it does have plenty of benefits.

You can see a difference in south Georgia's rivers and creeks. In fact about a month ago, black rocks that are now below the surface of the water, were exposed, and while it looks good now, without several inches of rain a week, we'll be back to where we started just month ago.

Nearly everyone's been praying for rain. While it was a blessing for some, it was a curse along one south Georgia highway. The force of four inches of rain over 24 hours washed out a two-ton head wall on Highway 270 in Colquitt County.

"Oh, easy, hydrologic pressure is something that is amazing," said Dave Gronbeck, GDOT Assistant Area Engineer.

Monday crews moved that head wall back into place after taking out several sections of pipe.

"We're just replacing the pipe and the head wall, there was no separation of the pipes and this was just limited undermining of the road," said Gronbeck.

Not everyone was fortunate to see that much water. While portions of Dougherty County, Brooks, Lowndes, and Cook saw as much as five inches, Lee County got just three inches and Calhoun and Miller counties got less than a tenth of an inch.

"The biggest increase we're seeing is in the tributaries, like Ichaway-Notchaway Creek, the Kinchafoonee, Spring Creek, those were at critical levels until this recent rain came through," said Mark Masters, Flint River Planning & Policy Center.

It won't break south Georgia's drought, but it's made a difference, just look at the Flint River today compared to a month ago. You can see rocks and tree stumps once visible are now underwater.

"Some of that is going to go toward recharge, for the Ag producers especially this rain event was relatively widespread so not only are we going to get some recharge, we're going to fill up the soil profile," said Masters.

Which is good news for both farmers and well owners. It will give farmers a chance to rest their irrigation pivots, giving well owners a break from dropping levels and the opportunity to improve what's been a costly situation of deepening wells thanks to a falling water table.

In south Georgia, Grady County saw the least amount of rain fall from Friday night through Sunday morning.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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