MOULTRIE -- Hurricane Dennis did not bring significant damage to the Gulf Coast, but it certainly was a menace to some areas of Colquitt County.
Dennis brought anywhere from nine to 11 inches of rain to the county, damaging roads and flooding city streets.
Some roads and bridges throughout the county were heavily damaged because of the raging streams that left their banks.
The Colquitt County Roads and Bridges Department reported as many as 20 roads had already been closed because of major damage as of Monday afternoon. A few of the roads that had been closed, such as Lewis Road, Coleman Road and part of J.D. Herndon Road, were reopened to traffic Monday.
Of the roads that were closed, Roads and Bridges Department officials said they had closed part of Old Berlin Road, Bay Rockyford Road, J.O. Stewart Road, Mitchell County Line Road, Shade Murphy Road, Tallokas Road, James Buckner Road, Plymel Road, Tyler Road, Pine Trail Road, part of Cook Road, Bay Pole School Road, J.C. Saunders Road, part of Myron Hart Road and part of Bennett Road.
Water covered or washed out bridges on several roads in the county, including Willingham Road and Crosby Road, and water had washed out Tony Brothers Road, Jack Pyle Road and Herndon Road.
Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Russell Moody said between 50 and 60 people had to be evacuated, some by boat, from their homes because of flooding. The water levels continued to rise Monday, and there was no way to tell how long it may be until the water begins to recede.
Despite the amount of water and flooded homes, Moody said there were no reports of bodily injuries. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) was in Colquitt County Monday to assess the damage.
Despite the efforts of emergency services to keep motorists out of harm's way, Roads and Bridges personnel said they had received reports of people going around their barricades. They asked all drivers to please heed the road signs.
Moody said people need to be very cautious traveling the county's roads. Some streams were still raging Monday afternoon. Please be patient as well because crews are working as fast as they can to repair and reopen flooded roads, Moody said.
The City of Moultrie is watching Okapilco Creek and its water level to see if it causes more flooding, Public Works Director Danny Ward said. The creek had not risen after a check at 2:45 p.m. Monday, so he is hoping it had crested and will begin to fall back to normal levels.
Rain and the rising creek caused Talmadge Drive to be swamped, but Ward said Fifth Avenue Southeast and Fourth Avenue Northeast remained open for traffic Monday afternoon. Moultrie Fire Chief Kenny Hannon said an apartment complex along Talmadge Drive was evacuated, and a shopping center on Talmadge Drive was being sandbagged to help keep water out of the stores.
Flooding did cause the city to close part of 15th Street Southeast, and the Georgia Department of Transportation closed the bridge on First Avenue Southeast.
More rain was predicted to fall in the county Monday, which would be runoff because the soil cannot hold any more water, Ward said. In his 25 years in Moultrie, he said he had never seen Okapilco Creek as high as it was Monday. The creek had risen up to the under structure of La Fagota restaurant.
The deluge impacted several schools to a minimal degree, said Colquitt County Schools Director of Facilities Rick Gehle.
"It was an inconvenience, not really any damage," Gehle said.
Affected were entranceways at Colquitt County High School and two fifth grade classrooms at Sunset Elementary.
Cox Elementary, which sits near the Okapilco and upland of Woodland Heights, was unaffected on the inside, Gehle said. Current construction on the facility wasn't impacted except for the parking lot, he said. The torrents washed away dirt from the lot set to be paved. That construction will be delayed by several days, he said.