Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday declaring most of Georgia is under a state of emergency due to extreme rainfall and flooding.
In the order, he said Georgia received over 18 inches of rain in January and February, “not including recent storms.”
With the National Weather Service issuing “watches and warnings along waterways, creeks and tributaries” and extensive flooding may “render (bridges and roadways) impassable,” preventing residents to access public services in some areas, the majority of the states 159 counties are under a state of emergency. These counties include Bulloch, Bryan, Candler, Emanuel, Evans, Effingham, Jenkins and Screven counties.
Kemp issued the order at 3:59 p.m. Thursday. The order lasts 30 days and means all state resources will be available for “preparation, response and recovery” throughout the affected area.
Local issues; roads closed
In spite of hazardous conditions in some areas due to extreme rainfall, Bulloch County schools will be open Friday. However, like Thursday, school buses will not be rolling for a few days on a number of dirt roads because of washouts, boggy conditions and water over the roadway.
Repeated deluges over the past several days have wrought havoc on not only Bulloch, but surrounding counties’ dirt roads. Paved roads have even suffered damage – Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn confirmed reports that an area on Old River Road near P.W. Clifton Road had asphalt damage Thursday.
School bus routes in some areas were suspended Thursday and Friday because it was deemed unsafe for heavy buses to navigate, said Bulloch County Schools Public Relations Director Hayley Greene.
There were several roads closed Friday after a night of steady rain; Cleary, Iler, Jackie Hart, Brinson, Homer Bunch, Two Chop at Rocky Ford, Lake Collins at W.O. Peacock, Five Chop at Highway 24 and Zetwell.
closed Thursday included Buie Driggers (from Holloway to Bryant Still); from 1737
Bryant Still to Stilson- Leefiel;
W.O. Peacock from Clark Farms to Cedarlawn; Honey Bowen at Ben Grady Collins; Arcola, Sinkhole at South Jo Dan; Macedonia, Miller Street Extension.
Also, Riverview at Old River; Buie Driggers at JR Cribbs to Highway 80 East; Old Portal below Moore; E.C. Hunnicutt at Fate Deal to Metts roads.
Bulloch County Emergency Management Agency, along with Bulloch County commissioners, Public Works and the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, ask residents to only drive on dirt roads if they live there or the trip is absolutely necessary. Any drivers of ATVS or automobiles found intentionally “bogging: or otherwise damaging the roadways" could face charges, as officials are serious in the request for drivers to avoid wet, messy roads until conditions improve.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.