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Wet, wet weather ushered in Christmas

A snowy, white Christmas may have evaded Grady County, but the area did have plenty of wet stuff blanketing the ground as rainfall amounts of 7″ to 10.5″ reportedly fell here in a matter of three days.
The rain started on Monday, Dec. 22, and continued through Christmas Eve. According to GeorgiaWeather.net, the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, which has a recording site at Monrovia Growers (formerly Wight Nurseries), .31″ of rain fell here on Dec. 22; 5.19″ on Dec. 23; and 2.13″ on Dec. 24.
Such a large amount of rain falling in such a short time span created unstable ground conditions and by the morning of Thursday, Dec. 24, entire trees began to fall while others dropped heavy limbs. Whenever power lines were in their path, electricity was disrupted.
The rain forced the closure of portions of three dirt roads, which may remain closed for several more days.
In the city limits of Cairo, the first power outage was reported around 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve.
Three of the largest outages happened in the areas of Fifth Avenue S.W., 23rd Street N.E., and 22nd Street N.E. Trees fell in all cases, landing on power lines.
“I think it’s a combination of the ground being so wet, and I think we must have had some straight line winds that came on a certain path and got those weak trees,” says Rod Prince, energy services director for the City of Cairo. Prince says all customers were back on line by 1:30 p.m., and no subsequent issues were reported.
Grady EMC’s first power outage was reported around 3 a.m., Christmas Eve and continued through 4 p.m., affecting their customers from Lake Seminole to Boston.
Donnie Prince, marketing director for Grady EMC, says about 4,000 customers, including many in Grady County, were affected during the 13-hour period. Some outages were cleared in less than an hour while others required more time to repair, such as those three instances where broken utility poles required replacement.
Portions of three county dirt roads remained closed Tuesday following this week’s rain on Monday, according to Stanley Elkins, superintendent of the Grady County Road Department.
Elkins says, luckily, there are no homes on the closed areas of Rawls Road, Hester Lane and State Park Road. Elkins says cross drains on Rawls Road are rusted and possibly collapsed so may require replacing. The affected portion of Hester Lane will need to dry and be built up with more dirt to avoid a recurrence.
During the week of Christmas, a dirt portion of Moore Road was closed between Wednesday and Friday. The road was reopened Friday after water from a nearby creek receded back into its banks.
Throughout the day of Christmas Eve, road crews were called to sites around the county to remove fallen trees from roadways.

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