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We're all wet
Heavy rain likely through today
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County residents got off to a slick start this morning as remnants of Tropical Depression Fay continued to wash over the area.

According to the weather service, Forsyth remains under a flash flood watch through tonight.

Capt. Frank Huggins with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said the department had worked 23 wrecks between noon Monday and mid-afternooon today. Two of those involved injuries. There also were eight reports of trees downed by the storm.

"Most of the problems are centered around the southern part of the county with heavy rain," Huggins said.

The weather service forecasted a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms into Wednesday as well as Thursday.

Kent Frantz, service hydrologist with the weather service office in Peachtree City, said Fay could drop as much as 2 to 4 inches of rain locally.

In isolated areas, he said, there could be as much as 6 inches of rainfall.

The rain arrived in earnest Monday afternoon, just ahead of high school football practice and the evening rush hour.

At Forsyth Central High, head football coach Chris Bennett said practice went off as planned, but not without plenty of effort beforehand.

The coach said his staff spent a good part of the day securing an alternate practice site in the event lightning became an issue. The Bulldogs open the regular season Friday at McIntosh in Peachtree City.

The team was able to get a commitment from band director John Mashburn to use the band's practice space in the school's old gymnasium, Bennett said.

Fortunately, lightning detectors on the field never showed activity within 10 miles, and the Bulldogs were able to stay outdoors.

"We got wet, but lightning never bothered us," Bennett said. "We actually got a whole practice in [outside]."

Practicing indoors can be a significant disruption, with the limited space forcing teams to scale back activities and watch more film.

"It really turns into more of a mental aspect when you go inside. You can't run routes," Bennett said.

The route of Fay has taken it across much of the state.

The flash flood watch includes portions of North Central Georgia, Northeast Georgia, Northwest Georgia and West Central Georgia.

Frantz said a watch indicates favorable conditions for a flood while a warning would indicate a flood is "occurring or imminent."

"Fay has produced a lot of flooding across Florida, South Georgia and into Alabama and she's just been a tremendous rainfall producer due to her slow movement," Frantz said.

"So that allows a lot of these showers and thunderstorms to keep running over the same area and that's what produces the flooding."

Frantz said flash floods are caused by heavy rainfall amounts in a short period of time.

He said enough rain could fall over Lake Lanier in the next 24 to 48 hours to bring it from 17.5 feet below summer pool level to about 13 feet below.

Full pool is 1,071 feet above mean sea level. The lake is currently about 1,053.5 feet.

"We are looking for the pool level to potentially rise anywhere from 2 to 4 feet, which is a significant rise for Lake Lanier because it's so large," he said.

"It will be a tremendous help, but it will not end the water supply problems that we're having with Lake Lanier."

But Jon Heard, utilities director for the city of Cumming, wasn't as encouraged by Fay.

He said that predictions from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show the lake could fall below the record level set last year, particularly if there is not significant rainfall in the weeks and months ahead.

"If this tropical system provides an abundant supply of moisture to the area, and we have adequate rainfall, then I would expect the lake level to rise somewhat and maybe level out," Heard said.

"But the moisture from this one system is not the answer to the overall drought problem we've seen over the past couple of years."

Staff writers BJ Corbitt and Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.