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Rain brings flooded roads, possible sinkhole
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October is typically one of the driest months of the year, but it certainly didn’t start that way.

Some 6.7 inches of rain fell Monday and early today, bringing the total since Sunday to 7.39 inches, at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

Flash flooding Monday night closed a number of roads and made travel hazardous.

“We’ve had a number of calls of localized flooding,” said Officer Kevin Holbrook, Gainesville Police Department public information officer.

Flooding hit Dorsey Street, Martin Luther King Boulevard, Limestone Parkway and Jesse Jewell Parkway, he said.
“We were fortunate enough to get Jesse Jewell opened quickly,” Holbrook said.

Dorsey and MLK remained closed just before 10 p.m., he said.

Also, he said Tommy Aaron Drive had been closed because of downed power lines but had been reopened, and trees falling across the road closed Gaines Mill and Heritage.

“We’ve had a number of stalled vehicles as a result of flooding,” but no accidents, he said.

There was a possible sinkhole on the shoulder of Boulder Ridge Court in South Hall, said Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks, Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

“Anywhere along the Flat Creek watershed, those roads are extremely vulnerable to flooding, and we would advise motorists to avoid those if at all possible,” Wilbanks said.

And more rain and thundershowers could be in store this morning and early afternoon.

Skies then are expected to clear, followed by several days of partly cloudy or mostly sunny conditions and temperatures in the upper 70s to lower 80s. Sunday could be a bit cooler, with a high near 73.

This morning, Lake Lanier stood at 1,062.36 feet above sea level, or nearly 1.5 feet above Sunday afternoon's elevation of 1,060.92 feet. The full impact, however, won’t be known for another day or so, as it takes that long for all the runoff from creeks and streams to reach Lanier.

Lanier’s full pool is 1,071 feet.

The lake had dropped to 1,060.89 feet on Saturday, the lowest it had been since Jan. 19, when it was at 1,060.77 feet. At this time last year, Lanier stood at 1,062.15 feet.

The last time Lanier was at full pool was May 1, 2011, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Because the lake is under 1,063 feet above sea level, Lanier is operating under the corps’ Low Water Action Plan.

Dock permits, for example, won’t be considered until the lake level shows it can stay consistently above 1,064 feet.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, Hall County is experiencing moderate to severe drought.

That’s based on data collected through last Tuesday at 7 a.m. A drought update will be released Thursday based on data collected through 7 a.m. today.

A study of the U.S. Drought Monitor’s archives shows that Hall has been at least “abnormally dry,” the lowest level of drought severity, since May 17, 2011.

The last time the area showed no signs of drought was March 15 to May 10, 2011.

This week’s rain may not be the drought buster that often comes in the form of a tropical storm swooping in from the Gulf Coast.

However, “It will help some, especially as (the system) travels north, because the basin drains from the mountains back into Lake Lanier,” said Nate Mayes, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “So, all of it is going to be beneficial.”

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