Schools were closed yesterday in eight Southeast Georgia
counties because of Sunday's storms, which flooded and washed
out dirt roads and damaged homes, officals said.
Because of recent flooding, Gov. Zell Miller yesterday placed
those eight counties -- and 51 others -- in a state of
Schools boards in Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien,
Coffee, Irwin and Tift counties gave students a day off because
school buses could not safely run their routes, officials said.
Jeff Davis County schools already had a day off scheduled for
yesterday, but officials said they could not have opened with
the bad road conditions.
Appling, Atkinson and Irwin County schools will remain closed
today, while the rest reopen. Coffee County's reopening comes
with the proviso "for those who can make it."
The heavy rains have been blamed for at least one death in
Georgia, with another likely:
An Irwinville man drowned about 9:20 p.m. Sunday when he and a
friend stopped to survey flooding at a culvert on a Ben Hill
County dirt road about 7 miles northwest of Fitzgerald, Sheriff
Thurman Ellis said. The man had driven across the culvert and
was backing up for another look when a rear wheel went off the
side of the road, flipping the truck upside down in flood
waters, Ellis said. His companion escaped, but the driver,
Darrell Eugene Moore, 29, drowned, according to the Georgia
In West Georgia's Carroll County, the search for 20-month-old
Brandon Thomas Malek Reddish resumed yesterday. The state patrol
said the baby was swept out of a car driven by his mother,
Rachel Lynn Barron, when it slid off of a curve and into
Buckhorn Creek Sunday afternoon. Rescuers offered little hope
the child, who the patrol said was not in a car seat, had
Heavy rains have caused so much damage to the thousands of
miles of dirt roads in Southeast Georgia that public works
departments are running short of dirt.
"We're buying sand this morning. What we had stockpiled is
gone," Coffee County Road Superintendent Don Stokes said
The county owns a sand pit on 17 Mile River near Douglas, but
trucks can't get to it because the access road is flooded,
Stokes said the county had closed about 50 roads, and it could
be two to three weeks before all repairs are finished.
Here's a look at what else has happened across the region:
In Jeff Davis County, where more than 6 inches of rain fell in
some areas Sunday, dry fill dirt is nonexistent, County
Administrator Lonnie Roberts said.
"The dirt we're getting is wet. All we're doing is putting mud
on top of mud," Roberts said.
Some of the paved state roads in Jeff Davis also were flooded,
but that did not hamper traffic because most motorists had easy
Atkinson County closed its schools after 5 inches of rain fell
in Pearson between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday, said County
Commission Chairman Jack Taft.
"We're washed away everywhere," Taft said. "We had water across
some state routes. We've got more water than I've ever seen in
this part of the country."
In Bacon County, crews were out marking closed roads and trying
to open culverts clogged with debris, said County Commission
Chairman Eugene Dials. The water was so high in some areas it
placed the safety of school transportation in doubt, Dials said. …