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Hole in dam worries White County residents

No flood reported so far, but Thursday's rain could change that

POSTED: May 25, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Residents of the Jenny's Creek and Town Creek area of White County endured a tense night late Tuesday and early today as the possibility of flooding from both creeks remained unknown.

This morning, however, with a flash flood warning canceled, the immediate threat seems to have passed. Officials in White County said there was no flooding overnight and no one was evacuated from their homes.

Earlier Tuesday, Lake Wendy Dam, a private dam along U.S. 129 about four miles north of Cleveland, developed a hole that continued to grow throughout the day.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning about 9 p.m. and urged area residents to be ready for possible evacuation.

"Lake Wendy Dam ... has developed a hole in it that is growing," said Dan Darbe, a meteorologist with The
National Weather Service in Peachtree City. "The creeks down stream are Jenny's Creek and Town Creek, so residents along those creeks are in danger of flooding."

At press time Tuesday, Jenny's Creek remained about 1 and a half feet above normal with Town Creek about 6 inches above normal, Darbe said.

"There's still 40 feet of water left in (Lake Wendy)," he said. "The first house (on Creekside Drive) could see as much as 4 feet of water if it goes."

However, David Murphy, White County Emergency Services director, said the situation appeared to be under control.

"This is a privately owned dam, so we don't have any jurisdiction over it," he said. "We're doing a precautionary alert with the folks down the street, so if we need to evacuate, (they know) why."

Murphy said engineers had been at the site throughout the afternoon and evening Tuesday working to repair the dam and would return today.

Murphy said he did not think anyone was in immanent danger.

"At this point in time, as far as we're concerned, we're just doing this as a precaution to get the word out," he said. "The water seems to be flowing off (Jenny's Creek and Town Creek) pretty well. ... We don't feel there's an immanent danger right at this point."

Rain and thunderstorms are forecast for Thursday, and officials said heavy rain could increase the threat that the dam could give way.

Times reporter Debbie Gilbert contributed to this report. 




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