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Bulloch area farmers look forward to rain from Fay
Tropical Weather Fay Heal
From left, Alonzo Perez and Felipe Perez, carry items to safety from some of the damage barns in Wellington, Fla. on Tuesday. Tropical Storm Fay rolled ashore in Florida Tuesday short of hurricane strength, but mysteriously gained speed as it headed over land, bringing heavy rain, high wind and tornadoes. - photo by Associated Press
    Bulloch area farmers will be singing Fay's praises as the tropical storm brings more rain this week.
    But weather experts are still watchful as the uncertainty of the storm's path and strength remains.
    "There is still a lot of uncertainty with Fay," said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn, who held a conference call with state and national weather and safety officials Monday and Tuesday.
    As of early Tuesday, the storm took a "turn to the ... east and is expected to go out into the Atlantic and come back on shore at the Jacksonville/Georgia state line area and travel slowly across extreme southern Georgia," he said.
    The storm's "cone of uncertainty" includes the southeast region, he said. "No doubt parts of Georgia are going to see significant amounts of rain and the coastal area is at full moon with higher than normal tides."
    Wynn plans to have another conference call this morning at 11:45 a.m. and a meeting this afternoon at 3 p.m. with county department heads and other community leaders "to discuss the latest track projection and that conference call," he said.
    Tuesday evening, National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Bright, based in Charleston, SC, said the tropical storm could possibly reach hurricane status, but the impact upon Bulloch County will be "fairly minimal" regarding wind. Rainfall could be heavy, though, he said.
    However, a press release by Georgia Emergency Management Agency director Charley English early Tuesday evening warned south Georgia residents to be wary.
    "The greatest impact to Georgia could be high winds, heavy rains and power outages in some places beginning as early as Wednesday evening or Thursday morning," he said. "Residents of low-lying areas should stay alert for possible flooding. A risk of severe weather, including isolated tornadoes spawned by Tropical Storm Fay, also exists in south Georgia."
Good news for farmers, crops
    Possibly moving into the weekend, Fay could bring as much as six or more inches of rain to the area, he said.
    That's good news for farmers, said Bulloch County Extension Agent Pat Todd.
    "It will give us enough rain to finish our peanut and cotton crops," he said Tuesday afternoon.
    Hopefully Fay won't bring too much of the good stuff, he said. Farmers will still need to get into the fields, especially when they begin harvesting corn. "We don't want 10 inches of rain."
    The temperatures will drop and the crops will get a respite from the blazing heat, and farmers should be able to get another cutting of hay after the rains are over, Todd said. "This could turn out to be the perfect situation for us."
    Still, no one knows exactly what Fay will do — whether she will remain a tropical storm, strengthen into a hurricane, or lose intensity.
    The atmosphere in the southeast and over the Atlantic is "very transient," Bright said. Atmospheric conditions are what sends such storms on the paths they take.
    "Fay was projected to weaken but is actually strengthening a little bit," he said, adding that the storm crossed northeastward over Florida into the Atlantic Ocean, then took a distinct turn to the northwest, striking landfall around the Florida-Georgia line.
    As of Tuesday evening, Bright said there was a tropical storm watch issued for Savannah and the coastal area south of the port city.
    With that path, Bulloch County will still see significant rainfall and some wind, he said.  He also added that there remains a possibility that Tropical Storm Fay could still power up into a "minimal hurricane."
    Weather reports on Web site predicted windy weather today, with scattered showers in the afternoon and temperatures ranging from the mid 70's to the low 90's. Through the weekend predictions were that  temperatures would become lower, down to the mid 70's with highs of mid to upper 80's, with continued scattered rain.
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