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Tuesday May 31st, 2016 12:19AM

Rains dampen 4th; causes problems

By Ken Stanford Reporter
Rains put a damper on July 4th activities in north Georgia Thursday, as expected, and the forecast calls for more rain Friday and Saturday.

As of 9:00 Friday morning, Lee Gilmer Memorial Aiport in Gainesville had recorded 3.34 inches this week: 1.14 inches on Monday, 0.01 on Tuesday, 1.10 on Wednesday, and 1.06 Tuesday, plus 0.03 Friday (through 9:00). But the heaviest of the rain has fallen in the mountains, including 5.86 inches in Blairsville, 2.98 in Dahlonega, and 5.63 in Clayton.

Forecasters began warning early in the week that the holiday week was going to be pretty much a wash-out and the prospects of a rainy week forced organizers of scores of holiday events to either cancel or postpone them. That trend was continuing Friday morning as plans were announced to scrub the 45th Annual Cracker Fly-In at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport and Mt. Airy's already-rescheduled Georgia Cities Day activities, both planned for Saturday. Weather had already forced cancellation of the Mt. Airy event earlier in the year, in April.

The heavy rains have caused numerous problems across north Georgia the past couple of days, including some flooding and washed out roads.In Flowery Branch,
with the city under an emergency declaration and a flash flood watch, workers got busy July 4th and installed a temporary bridge on Spring Street over Flowery Branch Creek.

City Manager Bill Andrew said Friday that on Wednesday morning the creek rose to within 10 inches of topping a temporary road crossing the creek and washing it out.

"The structures we had there had sustained some damage," Andrew said. "The Council and the Mayor felt that it made sense to go ahead and put in the bridge."

Andrew said a bridge washout has left residents on the other side of the bridge stranded and it could leave them stranded again. He added the city plans to build a permanent bridge but engineers need more data on how a 100 year flood would affect the structure.

Meanwhile, a Flash Food Watch remains in effect for north and central Georgia through Friday evening and some Flash Flood Warnings are still in place. (See separate posting.)

The NWS said Friday morning minor flooding continues to expand further into woods and fields along the Big Creek in the Alpharetta, Cumming and Roswell areas. That is one of the areas where a Flash Flood Warning remains in effect. Most of the walking and biking path in the area will be closed due to flooding.

(Click on the link below for access to all warnings, watches and advisories in effect in Georgia.)

(The Associated Press and Jerry Gunn contributed to this story.)
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