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More rain on the way
W POPE RD FLOOD 03
In this Herald file photo from December, Pope Road is shown with standing water. More rain Sunday is expected to make dirt roads even worse in Bulloch County. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File
    Everywhere you look, water is standing. Ditches overflow, pond banks are nonexistent, and some of Bulloch County's dirt roads are impassable. The El Nino weather pattern has made its presence known by the unusually excessive rainfall lately that has saturated the ground.
    But wait - there's more. Sunday, another round of wet weather will add to the already soaked soil and make conditions even more unpleasant, especially for those living on dirt roads.
    Hopefully, the rain coming Sunday won't be as much as the area received last weekend and Thursday, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn. "I don't think it's projected to be as much, but nonetheless, the ground is saturated."
    The water table is well above normal and there just isn't anywhere for the water to soak into the ground, and the water that is currently standing in ditches, ponds, creeks and low-lying areas won't have time  to seep into the soil or evaporate before Sunday's showers arrive. Therefore, county road crews won't be able to get into those dirt roads for repairs, he said.
    Some roads are closed due to the damages done by the rainfall. Portions of Brannen Pond Road, in the Brooklet area, and W.O. Peacock Road, west of Portal near the Bulloch/Emanuel County line. Wynn said the roads were washed out by water overflowing creeks and ditches during last weekend's and Thursday's rainfall.
    It takes two to three days for roads to dry enough for road crews to move in and repair them, but when the storms come every other day, the roads don't get a chance to dry, he said.
    When the weather does clear, "the roads that are closed will get top priority, "he said. "The nearly impassable ones come next. But, we'll have to have some drying conditions to do repairs."
    Bulloch County officials from road crew workers to county commissioners have fielded angry calls about the road conditions, he said. While road repairs are not always done immediately to extenuating circumstances, all calls are considered important and all complaints are investigated, he said.
    "We'll come out and check (the complaints) out," said Bulloch County Road Superintendent Eddie Smith. "I can't promise we'll wave a magic wand and fix it, but we do respond to the calls."
    Water is simply standing - puddling in the roadway, running across it from overflowing ditches and creeks - and "you can't hardly dump dirt in the water," he said. That would only create more mud, and eventually wash away.
    The county road crews have placed rocks in some areas, but that solution is not the best, he said. "We don’t have a lot of rock on hand, it costs, and will also hold water."
    Possibly, after Sunday's rain, there will be some clearing weather that will help roads dry, according to the National Weather Service web site (www.noaa.gov.)
    Beginning after 1 a.m. Sunday, showers could begin. A thunderstorm is possible after 1 p.m. Sunday, and although the temperature will be a balmy 70 degrees, chance of rainfall Sunday is at 70 percent.
    Another thunderstorm is possible Sunday night, and showers could still linger Monday, clearing up by Monday night, according to NOAA predictions.
    Wynn said the El Nino weather pattern is expected to bring more wet weather through spring and early summer. "Just 12 months ago we were talking about a drought," he said.
    Smith said road crews are working overtime to repair what roads they are able, but until the ground dries more, not much is possible. "If there's something we can do, we will do it," he said.
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