Water cascades through a large sinkhole near the Shoney's restaurant off of U.S. Highway 82 west in Tifton. (Special photo/Stephen Laska via Facebook)
TIFTON -- The Georgia Department of Transportation has closed a large section of U.S. Highway 82 East in Tifton to most vehicular traffic due to flooding, officials say.
Craig Solomon, spokesperson for the Georgia DOT, says that flooding has prompted officials to close the busy highway from an area just east of the fairgrounds in Tifton on in to the rural community of Alapaha in Berrien County. The area between the fairgrounds and the small community of Brookfield is open to residents of that portion of Tift County only. Commercial trucking is still being rerouted around that portion of the highway.
Click here to see photos and videos of the flooding in Tifton.
"Brookfield is still open if you want to use county roads, but we're advising people against driving across any road that is covered in water," Solomon said.
Schools are remaining open, according to a statement from the Tift County School System.
Parts of Tift, Berrien, Crisp, Turner and Irwin counties were delunged with rain over night, some areas receiving more than five inches of rain.
Mike Morrison, chief meteorologist with WFXL, posted rainfall totals from overnight that showed that some parts of Southwest and South Central Georgia received between 8 and 11 inches of water. And more rain is on the way.
"We were hoping to have everything open by 5 p.m., but we're expecting more rain, and so it'll be at least tomorrow before we'll be able to open things up," Solomon said.
Residents along Fletcher Road, where a creek bed traverses through a residential neighborhood not far from the Little River, were evacuated from their homes by boat early Wednesday afternoon.
Traveling along water-covered roads is not advisable, Solomon said, but if traveling across inundated roads is necessary, cross only where local law enforcement and DOT crews are flagging vehicles and directing traffic, he said.