It was all hands on deck for the Floyd County and Rome public works departments Thursday as they cleared fallen trees and clogged storm drains after two straight days of heavy rains and wind gusts caused minor flooding and flying debris in various areas.
That, coupled with expected freezing temperatures overnight, also has local garden centers taking precautions and farmers hoping their soil holds up.
“It has been an interruption for sure,” Floyd County Public Works Director Michael Skeen said Thursday. “We have a lot of new guys who went out for the first time yesterday and today. They’re getting some good experience.”
One fallen tree described by city public works crews as “a big one” blocked traffic on Oakland Avenue off of Shorter Avenue at about noon Thursday, but was quickly moved off the street with the help of chainsaws, Public Works Director Chris Jenkins said.
There also were 341 reported power outages in Floyd County as of 6:45 Thursday night, according to the Georgia Power website.
To both Skeen and Jenkins, this is just par for the course this time of year.
“It’s really pretty much like a normal storm event,” Jenkins said. “Unfortunately for this time of year, when you have leaves falling and it’s raining, it’s not a good combination. The last couple of days have been nothing but checking and cleaning out storm drains.”
For Floyd County Extension Agent Keith Mickler, it’s the flash flooding and drop in temperatures after a drought that can have such a devastating effect on local farms.
During flash flooding, soils can end up in local creeks and rivers, Mickler explained.
“No farmer likes to have ruts across their field,” he said. “That means soil has left the farm and anytime soil leaves the farm, that’s money leaving the farm.”
Mickler said normally farmers like to put in a cover crop for the winter, but since their fields went from being too dry to now becoming washed out, they haven’t had the chance.
“The weather around here is like underwear — it’s changed often,” Mickler said with a laugh, adding the low temperatures went from a steady 50 or 60 degrees to a sudden drop down to an expected 31 or 30 by Friday morning. “It’s going to get really cold really quickly before many plants have a chance to get acclimated.”
At Lavender Mountain Hardware and Garden at 4065 Martha Berry Highway NE, garden center staffer Cherry Green was helping move more sensitive plants and flowers into a warmer section of the greenhouse.
Green said, however, that since the outside air was only supposed to be at freezing level for a brief time on Friday morning before warming up with the sunrise, she wasn’t too worried about most of the inventory.
“Pansies will droop over and look like they’re gone, but they will still come back when the sun comes out,” Green said. “Even the mums will do fine.”
Area temperatures over the weekend were expected to hover just under 60 degrees during the day and drop to the low 30s in the early morning hours until warming up to a 45-degree low by Monday, according to the National Weather Center’s 10-day forecast. Showers weren’t expected again until Veteran’s Day Nov. 11.