Central Baptist Church on Dawson Road is reflected in the surface of Pine Lake Monday afternoon. Recent rain storms have filled area lakes and ponds to near capacity, and more rain is in the forecast.
SYLVESTER, Ga. -- Treacherous and nearly impassable rural roads prompted school districts Monday to close schools across the region Tuesday as a second round of storms pushed through the area.
With Southwest Georgia dirt roads already muddy from multiple inches of rain over the weekend, Monday's deluge prompted the heads of school districts in Worth, Tift, Colquitt, Turner and Mitchell counties to close schools.
"Based on current and forecasted (sic) weather conditions and out of precaution for transportation safety, the decision has been made to cancel school for tomorrow, February 26, 2013. At this time, school is scheduled to re-open Wednesday, February 27, 2013," a statement posted on the Tift County Board of Education's website stated Monday.
In Worth County, officials and volunteers spent much of the day sandbagging and canvassing the county, documenting the nearly 30 washed-out or impassable roads scattered throughout.
So far, Emergency Management Agency officials say the flooding has been limited to localized regions as low areas struggle to drain the 5 to 8 inches of rain that fell Friday and Saturday.
But with Monday's rain, that likely will change, Dougherty County Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief James Carswell said.
"What they're telling us is that this is shifting from a localized flooding and rain event to a river flooding event with the creeks and rivers swelling from all of the rain," Carswell said.
According to the National Weather Service, the Flint River in Albany is predicted to swell to flood stage, which is around 26 feet, around Friday.
The bigger concern is the Kinchafoonee Creek, which is predicted to hit 17.3 feet Friday afternoon, 7 feet above flood stage and a level that could cause moderate flooding along the creek.
As of Monday, the creek was at 11.3 feet and rising.
Further south, Newton and Bainbridge could have some issues when it comes to river flooding. In Newton, the river is expected to hit minor flood stage on Friday when the river hits 24.9 feet. In Bainbridge, the National Weather Service predicts moderate flooding when it hits 29.2 feet about the same time.
Those numbers could change, however, depending on overnight rains Monday that were expected to dump another several inches of rain throughout the area.
"As far as Albany's concerned, its about what falls north of us," Carswell said. "I don't think we'll have a major change in the prediction or the models, but you never know. Places downriver like Newton and Bainbridge could have some issues."