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Remembering the Great Flood of 1994

Twenty-five years ago, Barnesville-Lamar County was drying out after Tropical Storm Alberto stalled over the area, dropping 25 inches of rain in a 48-hour period, triggering what has been known since as the ‘˜Great Flood of 1994′. It was said Tropical Storm Alberto caused flooding that happens once in 500 years. ’The worst has happened,’ late city manager Kenny Roberts said upon telling an emergency meeting of the city council that the dam at the city reservoir had failed. Roberts, James Blackmon, Jimmy Henry and others worked nonstop in a Herculean effort over the next few days to install a temporary dam, preserving the city’s water supply. The deluge turned ditches into raging rivers and rivers into hydraulic merchants of doom and destruction. Water was chest deep on city streets as the storm water system was overwhelmed. In the county, more roads were impassable than passable as bridges and culverts washed away. Initial estimates put the damages at $3.2 million. That figure was soon increased to $3.7 million here. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries or deaths recorded here. Alabama, Georgia and Florida were affected. Alberto developed on June 30 from a tropical wave over the Caribbean Sea and entered the Gulf of Mexico as a strong tropical storm with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour. The cyclone made landfall near Destin, Florida with a high pressure system causing Alberto to drift over west-central Georgia and central Alabama. It dissipated over Alabama on July 7. Alberto and it’s aftermath cost Georgia more than $750 million dollars in damage. The Great Flood of 1994 left at least 18 people dead in Georgia including 11 in the mid-state. WHAT DO YOU RECALL about the great flood. Share your memories in the comments, on The Herald Gazette Facebook page or via e-mail to news@barnesville.com

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