The clouds rolled in Saturday afternoon as scattered showers turned into downpours late that night and throughout Sunday. As a strong southwest frontal system settled over Southeast Georgia with some 5 inches or more of rain falling over the weekend and into the afternoon Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
The weather service had recorded 5.33 inches of rain on Jekyll Island between Saturday and Monday afternoon, said Matt Zibura, a meteorologist with the weather service.
The national weather service measured 4.82 inches of rain at St. Simons McKinnon airport, its official weather station for Glynn County, Zibura said. The deluge dropped 2.05 inches of rain alone on Sunday, breaking the Dec. 2 record of .78 inches of rain that fell in Glynn County in 1981, Zibura said. An additional 1.54 inches of rain fell throughout Saturday, although this was nowhere near the Dec. 1 record of 2.68 inches recorded in 1977, he said.
The frontal boundary brought with it a warm and wet air system, with day temperatures in the 70s and overnight lows in the 60s throughout the weekend.
“The above-normal temps and the above normal moisture all combined to give us above normal rainfall,” Zibura said. “It just really poured.”
That should be behind us here in the Golden Isles now. Cooler temperatures arrived late Monday with a cold front moving in from the nation’s Northwest. With it comes crisp dry air and sunshine. Today’s daytime high will hover in the mid-60s in advance of a chilling overnight low in the upper 30s.
Wednesday and Thursday will see daytime highs in the mid 50s, with an overnight low Wednesday at around 38 and Thursday at about 43 degrees.
“It looks a lot better for the next five or six days — drier and cooler,” Zibura said.
It could be days before Brantley County crews repair washed out roads that prompted school officials to call off classes Monday and Tuesday.
County School Superintendent Kim Morgan sent out a notification about 1:20 p.m. Monday that schools would be closed a second day because of conditions on dirt roads.
Morgan told The Brunswick News via email that a number of bus routes are impassable.
Although students will get the day off, system staff and faculty should report during their normal working hours, Morgan said.
Whether the closure will be extended remains to be seen.
Interim County Manager Rene Herrin set Friday as the goal for repairing and reopening all the many damaged roads while acknowledging that was likely optimistic.
Before noon Monday, Herrin said six roads were completely closed but conditions were bad on roadways throughout the county.
“We’re getting calls constantly about bad washouts,’’ she said.
After three days of rain, the sun had finally shone Monday morning, but Herrin said it would be useless to start work on the saturated dirt roads.
“There’s not much we can do until the rain quits and the water goes away,’’ she said.
The roadside ditches flow into creeks and the creeks are so full there is no place for the runoff to go.
Brantley County is not alone in its misery. Neighboring Ware and Pierce counties both closed their schools Monday as did Clinch farther west.
The National Weather Service reported several inches of rain from late Friday night through Monday morning and area automated stations in a University of Georgia network recorded heavy rain totals each day.
The station at ZBLU Berry Farm just west of Nahunta recorded about 7.4 inches over the period while a site near Woodbine measured six inches.
Ten miles west of Waycross, the station at Mixon Farms at Waresboro reported more than 8.5 inches of rain while a site near Homerville recorded 12 inches.
As bad as things were in Brantley County, conditions have been worse. The county once had more than 500 miles of dirt roads but paving projects over the past decade have reduced that mileage.
Also, the county once accepted poorly constructed roads as developers pushed roads into the woods and sold lots for homes. Past county commissioners adopted standards for roads including minimum widths, ditches and culverts and also began placing materials on its roads to stabilize them in deluges.
The county has since gone a step beyond that, Herrin said.
“We don’t accept dirt roads anymore,’’ she said.
A severe thunderstorm and possible tornado caused damage Sunday at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Camden County, according to a news release by the base.
The storm’s impact centered on a waterfront pier facility at the southeast corner of the base where vehicles were damaged, power lines downed and four injuries sustained by base personnel. All those injured were treated and released from nearby medical facilities, according to the release.
The base added that there were no reports of damage to any of its submarines.