EMA: Rain mostly missed county

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Covington County appears to have been spared the worst of the recent damaging rains, which dumped rain and caused flooding through parts of the Southeast.

Days of downpours and thunderstorms saturated the ground from Alabama through Georgia into eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.

Locally, the rains have slowed roadwork to a near halt, assistant county engineer Lynn Rawls said Tuesday.

“We got 6 inches of rain in Rose Hill (Monday) and another 2 to 3 inches down below Yellow River,” Rawls said. “We’re trying to put down a bridge in Florala but can’t because of all the water. We were going to be installing some pipe (Tuesday) on County Road 70, but we had to postpone it. You can’t put mud back into a hole. The dirt is too wet. So we’ll have to wait until things dry out.”

Susan Carpenter, county emergency management agency director, said that dry spell could begin as early as today.

“Mobile Weather is saying the chances for showers will decrease (today) through Friday as a high makes its way over our area,” she said. “Then weak front is set to move in, which will increase the rain chance for Saturday and Sunday.”

Carpenter said local waterways appear to be handling the rainfall; however, there have been instances of flash flooding in the county.

“That’s what happens when we get such a large amount of rainfall in a short period of time,” she said. “The water covers the roadways and causes issues.”

Seven people have died in Georgia since Sunday night, including a toddler swept away from his father’s arms after a swollen creek ripped apart their trailer home.

A 22-year-old Alabama man drowned when a pond’s rain-soaked bank collapsed beneath him, and a Tennessee man is still missing two days after betting onlookers he could swim across a flooded ditch next to his house. Several others who died were motorists whose cars were overtaken or trapped by fast-rising floodwaters.