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Few effects so far from major rainfall

POSTED: July 15, 2013 9:21 p.m.
Photo by Debbie Neidlinger/

Constant rain and a rising Ogeechee River have made for some driving problems in Effingham County but little damage has been recorded from the weather.

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After being deluged by rain for days in a row, Effingham and surrounding counties should see a return to typical July weather this week.


The National Weather Service forecasts high temperatures to be in the low 90s this week, with the chance of rain being just isolated thundershowers.


“We are finally out of that prolonged wet spell,” said Jonathan Lamb, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Charleston office.


A break from rain couldn’t come at a better time. The Ogeechee River reached 13.94 feet Monday afternoon; flood stage is nine feet.


“At 14 feet is when I start to get worried,” said Effingham County Emergency Management Agency director Ed Myrick. “They’re forecasting the river not to get any higher. We’re keeping an eye on it.”


Fortunately, Myrick added, much of Effingham County land along the river is hunting clubs rather than residential property. Most of the homes that are on the river are elevated enough not to be affected by flood waters, he said.


Despite the heavy rain and areas of flooding over the weekend, no damage was reported to Effingham County EMA.


“We had a tree down here, a tree down there,” Myrick said, “but nothing our first responders aren’t used to responding to this time of year.”


Local officials were concerned the Ogeechee River would rise rapidly after a dam holding back a Screven County lake failed late Saturday night. The dam at an 80-acre, 24-foot-deep irrigation lake owned by Herbert Jacobs gave way, sending large trees sweeping across Highway 17 in Screven County, just north of the Ogeechee River.


Myrick said his office was “in constant contact” with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to see if help was needed in Screven County. Myrick was prepared to open shelters in Effingham County, but they were not needed.


“We didn’t see any noticeable spike on the Ogeechee River downstream despite the dam breaking,” Lamb said.


At the NWS office on Monday, the talk among Lamb and his fellow meteorologists was that they had never seen a southern summer so rainy. Discussions this time of year are typically about heat, humidity and drought conditions.


“We can’t remember so many storm systems at one time,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything tying this to any larger-scale phenomenon. It’s certainly really anomalous.”

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