Roads closed due to swift water and flooded homes were among the obstacles that conservation rangers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encountered this week as they provided assistance to South Georgia residents and other law enforcement agencies in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby.
The St. Marys River rose to almost double (23.2 feet) its flood stage level of 12 feet in a short amount of time. This flooding resulted in numerous access roads and two major state highways (GA 185 and GA 121 intersection) covered by swift water, which stranded several residents with homes along the river.
Earlier this week, rangers Cpl. Jason Shipes and Sgt. Patrick Dupree utilized jon boats to reach approximately 20 flooded dwellings. Four residents and their belongings were transported to high ground. The rangers made additional trips to deliver bottled water and other supplies to residents in the flooded river bottom who refused to leave their homes.
One resident attempted to swim to his boat, which was drifting, and not being able to reach it, had to call for help. Cpl. Shipes was able to get a personal flotation device to the man and get him to a safer location.
In anticipation of the river rising again last night, Charlton County Sheriff Dobie Connor again requested assistance from DNR today to help cover the same location, in case residents choose to leave their homes.
Agency personnel and residents are relieved to have Debby moving away from the area, but until flood waters recede and damage is fully assessed, people venturing out should use extreme caution.
For more information, visit http://www.gema.ga.gov .