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Jeanne soaks area, leaves little major damage

Tropical Storm Jeanne became a friend of students across McDuffie County this week and an enemy of county road crews.

According to a gauge at WTHO/WTWA, 4.21 inches of rain fell Monday, bringing gusts of wind at more than 30 mph.

Rains from the storm caused schools to dismiss students shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday. Superintendent Mark Petersen said the decision came after consulting with the Georgia State Patrol and the McDuffie County Road Department.

"Based on what we've been watching, the worst is yet to come as far as the rain," Dr. Petersen said shortly after releasing students.

The decision to cut the day short was made to keep students as safe as possible in the potentially dangerous road conditions.

"Our busses ride another hour and 45 minutes once they get on the road. That's still a good little while," Dr. Petersen said. "I'm just afraid of busses getting stuck and children not getting home."

The after school programs in the county were called off around noon on Monday in the hopes that the roads would stay drivable long enough for busses to run at their regular time. But as the weather worsened, officials made the decision to end the day early.

Dr. Petersen said an early morning survey of the roads determined the status for Tuesday's school day which was back to normal.

Monday's early departure wasn't the only alteration made by the school system. Administrators and staff had planned on attending a bus tour of three school systems across the state to study how their operations are run, but Jeanne put a stop to that as well.

"We were so afraid, and rightly so, that the principals would be so worried about the storm here that they wouldn't pay a bit of attention to our road trip," said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Kathy Collins.

McDuffie County school officials are already working on a date to reschedule the bus tour.

Crews from the McDuffie County Road Department were out until 2 a.m. Tuesday removing trees and other debris from roadways. Also, a drain pipe under Giles Road washed away and took part of the road with it.

Road Department Director Chris Pelly said repairs on that section of road should be completed by Wednesday morning at the latest. He also said several dirt roads were in bad shape, but crews were out doing what they could to make the roads drivable.

"The north end (of the county), I bet they had at least five inches of rain. So it was pretty rough there, especially ... out there fighting in the rain, trying to get these roads open from the trees," Mr. Pelly said.

The excess rain caused hazardous road conditions which resulted in several accidents in both Warren and McDuffie Counties. According to GSP Operator Stuart Taylor, troopers worked five accidents in those counties on Monday.

Web posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004

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Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01


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