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6.5 inches in 8 hours
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Dawson County's Etowah River crested at more than 16 feet 10 feet above normal earlySunday morning,causing flooding and minor road damage.

"We had 6.5 inches of rain in about an eight-hour period," said Dawson County Fire Chief Lanier Swafford. "When you've got that much water that fast, things are going to happen."

In the western part of the county, River Park, a popular canoe put-in point on Hwy. 9 near Riverview Middle School, was closed as torrents of muddy water overflowed the river banks, flooding the parking lot and facilities with about four feet of water. The park has since re-opened.

Parts of Valley Road, off Hwy. 53, were closed after the side shoulder was washed out.

"The pipe and Valley Road are still intact, but the storm undermined a portion of the road on the upstream shoulder," said David Headley, Dawson County's director of public works and community development. "We had this on our repair list for this year anyway, and we're looking into that now."

A gravel-covered section of Etowah River Road between Cothan Road and Hwy. 136 was washed out and was still closed at presstime.

In the eastern part of the county, a mudslide nearly two feet thick temporarily closed part of Warhill Park Road, which has been reopened.

Closer to Hwy. 400, an existing, 25-foot sinkhole at the corner of Industrial Park Road and North Georgia Avenue was made worse by heavy rains. A manhole failed, according to Brooke Anderson, general manager at Etowah Water and Sewer Authority (EWSA).

Anderson noted the storm sewer failed, causing the failure of the sanitary sewer lines.

"We had been monitoring it on a daily basis, so we were able to act rather than react," he said. "I'm very proud of our employees. ... They made sure it didn't become an issue, and we were able to prevent any environmental or public health issues. And we continue to monitor the site every day.

The county is working with EWSA to address the sinkhole problem.

"We have the situation under control, and we are closely monitoring it," said Headley. "The storm sewer pipe and Etowah sanitary line share the same line. The storm sewer pipe broke loose and the manhole fell into it. At this point, we need to shore up the sides and keep erosion from happening. Then we can get workers down there.

"It's through the cooperation between the Dawson County EMS, the county's public works offices, Etowah Water and Sewer, and (County Manager) Cindy Campbell that we are getting things done," he added. "Everyone has done a really good job, especially Cindy since she's new."

Headley said that the county has 79 miles of dirt roads, and all of them held up well.

"Improvements we've made over the last year or two really did good, such as Cleve Wright Road, Gold Mine Road and several others," he said. "We think we've got everything fixed unless some people just aren't calling in."

To report road damage due to flooding, please call the county at 706-344-3500, extension 42232.

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