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Talk of rain won't go away
For many, it was most ever
Lanier low taken 12-17265F
In this photo, taken less than a year ago on December 11, 2008, the dock at Mary Alice Park is high and dry, with water nowhere near the structure, and the island near the park is connected by an exposed land bridge. - photo by Jim Dean
A week after heavy rains soaked the area, many longtime Forsyth County residents are still talking about the weather.

“And most everybody agrees that this is the most rain that they’ve ever seen,” said Pete Amos. “I would say if it’s not the worst, it’s got to be the second most rain we’ve got in history here.

“I can’t even remember rain ever being that high on my dirt road here.”

About 10 inches of rain fell between Sept. 14 and 22 in Forsyth County. The deluge flooded some roads and fields, as well as the new Big Creek Greenway, and canceled school for a day. It was the first rain-related school closing since Hurricane Opal in fall 1995.

Lake Lanier had risen past 1,068 feet above sea level by Friday afternoon, just 3 feet below full pool.

Forsyth Fire Capt. Kevin Wallace said he’s never seen anything like the heavy rains of last weekend. But despite the astounding rainfall, Forsyth fared well compared to other Georgia counties.

“We had probably half a dozen [incidents] we checked on,” Wallace said. “We had one with minor flooding issues. Obviously, some folks had some basement issues, but no major damage that we’re aware of.”

Nearly 2,000 customers in Cherokee, Forsyth and northern Fulton counties lost power during the torrential rain, but Sawnee EMC had restored service to all by the next day.

For 75-year-old Louie Hansard, the biggest storm he’s seen was when he was "probably between 5 and 10 years old.”

“I remember my daddy taking me to the Chattahoochee River. The water was up to the top of his barn loft and he had to move everything up the hill,” said Hansard, a county native. “That’s as big as I can ever remember seeing the Chattahoochee.”

The river was dammed to form Lake Lanier in the 1950s, with one of the principle reasons being flood control.

Richard Webb said Hurricane Ivan in 2004 brought about as much water, as did a storm back in the mid-1980s.

“We have an old mill house that I used to live in,” he said. “The rain that came and busted the little mill pond above the house floated my car away down the driveway toward Kelly Mill Road. And another family that’s lived in the house had the same thing happen to them.”

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said a storm like this week's only happens “once every 100 or 200 years.”

“As a kid, before we had a lot of the storm prevention measures, we used to have some flooding in some of the local streams," Gravitt recalled.
"Kelly Mill Creek would sometimes get up over the bridge and it would get over State Route 20 or Hickory Ridge occasionally. But we’ve never had nothing like this.

“We were lucky. We dodged the bullet I think. We didn’t have a lot of damage."

Still, it doesn't hurt to be prepared for any disaster or emergency situation.

September is National Preparedness Month, when residents are reminded of the importance to be prepared by making emergency kits.

Emergency officials say there are a few key components every household needs to be prepared, including a weather radio and water for drinking and sanitation.

Other items such as nonperishable food, a whistle and flashlight are part of an emergency preparedness kit.

Melissa Weinman of the FCN regional staff contributed to this report.