Almost 4 inches of rain drenches Coweta County

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
sarah@newnan.com
The rains that fell on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and early Wednesday dropped between 3.5 to 4 inches of rain on most of Coweta County, according to the National Weather Service.
The rain brings the total for December to 5.47 inches, as measured by The Newnan Times-Herald weather station in downtown Newnan.
That’s a lot of rain for December — 1.57 inches above the 30-year “average.”
It’s the second wettest December in at least 17 years. Only December 2009, at 9.10 inches, was wetter.
The metro Atlanta area only received a mere 1.67 inches in November. In October, it was 1.83 inches, and in September, just 1.37 inches, according to the weather service’s “rainfall scorecard.”
The Christmas rain wasn’t enough to put much of a dent in the Atlanta area’s rainfall deficit — which currently stands at 13.3 inches below normal for the year.
But “every little bit helps,” said Vaughn Smith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City. “This isn’t going to help that much but... we have to start somewhere to get back to normal.”

Despite the heavy rains, there was only one report of minor flooding, and that was in Alpharetta, where there are creeks and streams that are really prone to flash flooding, according to Smith.

The Chattahoochee River at Whitesburg is expected to rise 10 feet from the rain, but it will still be below flood stage because the river flow was so low to start with.

The river gauge was reading 3.5 feet at 3 p.m. on Monday. By 3 p.m. Wednesday, the level was 9.94 feet. The river was predicted to crest at 13.6 feet overnight Wednesday. That’s just shy of the flood level of 15 feet.

It is within the “action level” of 13 feet, however.

The rain is expected to have a beneficial effect on Newnan Utilities’ water reservoirs.

Motorists along Sewell and Corinth roads may have noticed the lakes, which appear nearly empty.

Things aren’t as bad as they look, however. “The lakes you can see from Corinth and Sewell roads are at a higher elevation than the one that sits at the plant. Therefore, those two lakes have the lowest levels,” said Dennis McEntire, Newnan Utilities general manager.

“While they look bad, they are designed to do exactly what they are doing: supplying us water when the creeks are dry,” McEntire said. “It has been pretty remarkable to watch the lakes work through the years. The engineering that was put into the design of our reservoirs over the past 75 - 85 years has proven over and over to be accurate,” he said.

As of Dec. 14, the total reservoir system was at 60 percent capacity.

“That is actually pretty healthy for this time of year,” McEntire said.

The heavy rains will allow Newnan Utilities to pump out of the area streams for several weeks, McEntire said. The reservoirs are fed by the streams, but water can’t be pumped if stream flows are below certain levels.

“We should have no problem having our lakes full again by early to mid-February,” McEntire said.

The B.T. Brown Reservoir, operated by the Coweta Water and Sewerage Authority, is just a few inches from full. The level was at 24.6 feet Wednesday afternoon, with 25 feet being full pool.

As of last week, nearly all of Coweta was considered to be in “exceptional drought,” the worst level according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A swath of extreme dryness runs from Troup County through Coweta and up to most of Douglas and South Fulton counties and half of Fayette. Another area of exceptional drought runs through central Georgia.

New drought maps will be released today, but they are based on rainfalls before 7 a.m. Tuesday. Most of the middle part of the state, with some areas farther north and south, is in extreme drought, with most of the rest of the state in severe drought.



More Local

Authorities capture burglary suspects

Two males and one juvenile are in custody after leading authorities in a manhunt following a failed burglary attempt on Thursday. Shortly be ... Read More


looking back

The Emergency Room: Its use and abuse

Editor’s note: Overcrowded hospital emergency rooms, and long wait times, caused by people using the ER for things that aren’t t ... Read More


Accident shuts down Hwy. 29

South Highway 29 was temporarily closed for more than 12 hours on Wednesday after a pickup truck crashed into a power line pole. The acciden ... Read More


Tax-free holiday today, Saturday

It’s tax free shopping time. Georgia’s annual sales tax-free holiday for clothing, technology items and school supplies is today ... Read More


CCSS welcomes 129 new teachers

The Coweta County School System (CCSS) held a breakfast and orientation on Thursday to welcome its 129 new teachers to the school system. &l ... Read More

Visits Newnan’s Elite Dance force

TV dancer JoJo meets local fans

JoJo Siwa, a 12-year-old dancer, model and singer who has appeared on several television shows, visited Newnan Thursday to meet young dancer ... Read More