Published on 07/07/05

Wet conditions increase risk of flooding across Georgia

By David E. Stooksbury
University of Georgia

The wet summer that Georgia has experienced is increasing the risk of flooding across the state.

As the state enters the middle of summer, soil moisture and stream flows are well above normal for this time of the year.

Ponds and reservoir levels are at full summer pool or above.

Stay back

Because of the high soil moisture conditions and stream flows across the state, there is little, to no, storage for excessive rain. If the state has another widespread heavy rain event in the next week, the flooding potential will be well above normal.

Because of the increased threat of flooding over the next week, Georgians need to monitor the development of hurricane Dennis as he moves into the Gulf of Mexico. As of Thursday, July 7, it's too early to know what, if any, impact Dennis will have on the state.

Be safe

Most deaths associated with tropical storms and hurricanes occur well inland away from the coast. Most deaths are preventable.

Deaths from tropical storms and hurricanes are caused primarily by drowning. In most instances, the drowning happened when a driver tried to drive through a flooded roadway.

Water depth on a flooded road is difficult to gage. Because the water is muddy, washed out roads and bridges can be hidden. The choice, if you cannot see the roadway, is TADD -- turn around, don't drown.

Another major cause of drowning deaths in floods occurs when individuals get too close to the moving water. When the ground is wet it's easy to slip and fall into a swollen stream. Also, the banks are often weakened by the excessive water and can't support extra weight near the bank.

Listen up

The best way to keep updated about weather conditions and weather warnings is a NOAA weather radio. NOAA weather radios are available at most stores that sell electronics.

Additional information on preparing for a flood and recovery can be found at< /a> and < a href=" tm"> Recent rainfall information is available from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network

David Emory Stooksbury is associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.