Houston & Peach

Sunday’s deluge smashes rainfall record

What Middle Georgia lacked in rainfall for much of the summer, it tried to make up for in a matter of hours.

Sunday’s deluge — officially 4.2 inches of rain in Macon — obliterated a decades-old record.

The National Weather Service captured that amount at its official reporting station at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, as of 4 a.m. Monday, said meteorologist Nate Mayes.

“The rainfall for (Sunday) for Macon actually broke the record for that date,” he said Monday afternoon. “The old record was 2.43 inches, set in 1953, so it shattered that record.”

Another half-inch or so fell as the work week got rolling Monday morning.

Other spots across Georgia were soaked as well. The Lexington area of north Georgia received about 6 inches, and areas around Buena Vista, southwest of Macon got about 5 inches.

Weather watchers had a long Sunday night, sending out severe thunderstorm and flash flooding warnings in some midstate counties.

Some roads in Houston County were closed — parts of Feagin Mill Road, Peacock Drive, Lake Joy Road, and U.S. 41 among them — but they reopened Monday.

Accidents were reported on rain-slick roads Monday morning, and there were reports of trees down in the Bibb County area.

The Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management was prepared to deal with severe thunderstorms, but those wound up going south of Macon, said Donald Druitt, the Emergency Management director.

“There’s nothing that Emergency Management has been involved with,” he said.

The heavy rains helped replenish groundwater and aided crops and lawns, Mayes and Druitt said.

Monday morning, the Ocmulgee River stood at 7.3 feet and will rise a bit more as its tributaries dump in more water, Mayes said. Before the rain, however, the river was low due to months of little rain, so Sunday’s downpour might only bring it up near normal, he said. The river would have to rise more than 10 feet to reach flood stage.

The rest of the week in Middle Georgia should be cooler and drier, with highs in the 70s to mid-80s and overnight lows in the 50s.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.