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Experts: Wild weather possible this weekend
040109 RAIN 02 web
Oblivious to the rain, cattle graze in a field on Rushing Road near Brooklet Thursday.
    By this morning the worst of the weather is expected to be over — that is, until another storm system moves through Sunday.
    Today and Saturday are expected to be clear, but more rain, wind and possibly wild weather is on the way, according to weather experts.
    It’s a good thing for local farmers, said Bulloch County Agent Wes Harris. But for those who must travel some of the county’s dirt roads, it may spell disaster, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
    National Weather Service predictions had local public safety officials ready to batten down the hatches Thursday night, with expected rains from three to five inches on top of the deluge the southeast had already experienced Wednesday and early  Thursday.
    Information from the National Weather Service’s Charleston, SC offices predicted possible thunderstorms that could produce “large hail and damaging winds” Thursday night, but expected the weather to clear by this afternoon to allow sunshine, with the clear weather lasting through Saturday.
    But more severe weather could develop Sunday, with the NWS warning “... conditions may become favorable for strong to severe thunderstorms to develop late Sunday into early Monday, ahead of an approaching cold front ...”
    Wynn warned citizens to be aware of the possibility of flash flooding, which NWS forecasters said could result in water “ponding”on  the roadways.
    If this type of flooding occurs, NWS officials warn drivers to slow down to avoid hydroplaning and to avoid driving through running water.
    But the wet and wild weather isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For area farmers, the rain is as precious as gold.
    Harris said the excessive amount of water may keep farmers our of the fields for a short time, and may cause washouts to ruin some small portions of newly planted crops, but overall, the much-needed rainfall at this time is a blessing.
    “We’ll have a few minor scrapes - washouts in some fields, where a lot of corn is just now coming up, and it may affect the stands in some areas,” he said. “The (heavy rainfall) may delay carrot harvest but that’s not a real big issue, and onions, it’s not a big threat. We shouldn’t have any big issues there.”
    The rain could not come at a better time, he said. The last time the Bulloch County area had significant rainfall at this tine of year was 1994, and “we’re very pleased with” the  timely rainfall, he said.
    “This is when we need it the most,” Harris said. “It sets us up to keep the streams and ponds up, and if we get two or three more good rains in April, we’ll have a really good planting season in May.”
    It’s never “ more than two weeks away from a drought,” he said. But if the spring brings rain like predicted, crops, as well as hay and grazing land, will “really get some benefits,” he said. “We’re really tickled about it.”
    But in the meantime, public safety officials are preparing to respond to possible wind damage, flooding and road issues, Wynn said, reminding citizens to be cautious.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.  
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