Flooding

Locals pull a truck from flooded Bennett Rd. on Monday after heavy rains on Saturday and Sun.      

                                    Photo by Sonya Barrett

Torrential weekend downpour dumped at least 10” over area

Pierce County had a wet weekend. A storm system moving through the county Saturday night, all day Sunday and part of Monday dumped as much as 12 inches of water in some areas of the county. Most areas received 10 inches of rainfall.

Pierce County joined several surrounding school systems in canceling school on Monday and Tuesday due to standing water on several dirt roads and more rain initially predicted for late Sunday night and Monday.

A flood watch extended through Monday evening.

Dirt roads were draining well Monday morning, says County Manager Jason Rubenbauer, but it’s going to take some time.

(Rubenbauer is currently acting as interim Emergency Management Director while EMA Director Leonard Roberts is on a leave of absence.)

“It’s taking a while for the water to drain down,” agrees County Road Superintendent A.J. Griffis.

County road crews were surveying damages right away, but won’t start grading until roads dry out.

“We’ll be grading as soon as they (the roads) tighten up so that way we’re not just pushing mud,” Rubenbauer says.

“Use caution because the roads are slippery,” he adds. “If there is any standing water, turn around. Don’t try to drive through it. You don’t know what’s underneath (that water).”

Most of the county roads closed over the weekend were in low-lying areas where creeks and branches overflowed their banks and washed out the roads.

Nine county roads have been closed due to severe flooding over the weekend.

“We ask residents to stay off these roads until the water recedes,” says Sheriff Ramsey Bennett.

Roads currently listed as closed include Bennett Road, the dam on Cathleen Drive just before you get to Irene Road, Creech Road, Foster Road, Moneyhole Road past the curve, Murray Hill Road and Shelton Road.

The sheriff said many other roads have washouts and are in poor condition due to the heavy rains.

He asks motorists to stay home as much as possible, but to exercise extreme caution if they have to travel.

“Beware of standing and moving water,” he said. “If water is sitting or running across a roadway, you won’t be able to tell how deep it is or if there is a washout undeneath,” he said. “We ask residents to report problems to us.”

The sheriff said the closure list will be updated periodically. See The Blackshear Times Facebook page for an updated list of closures.

“We hope the rains will stop and the water will start receding soon,” he says.

The City of Blackshear experienced localized flooding in town, but most of it drained off quickly and there were no issues by Monday morning.

“We had some localized flooding issues ... In about an hour it went away,” says Police Chief Chris Wright.

The city treatment plant was still running Monday, but the influx of water into the collection system resulted in at least three sewage spills.

Most had “slowed to a trickle,” by Monday evening, says Trey Pearson with Tindall Enterprises, management company for the city’s wastewater system.

As of press time Tuesday morning, EPD had been notified of the spills, but other than making initial notification to EPD and monitoring when the spills dried up, no calculations have been conducted yet to determine their classification as major or minor spills.