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BOC Chair to sign local state of emergency for county
flooding ross
Water pooled up in the parking lot of Ross on the corner of Hwy. 278 and Alcovy Road from heavy rains Wednesday. - photo by Bryan Fazio

Swollen rivers, rain-saturated ground and flash floods have closed more than 15 roadways in the county; so many the county had to purchase more barricades to prevent traffic from driving on dangerous roads.

"We appear to have more roads closed than [we did] in 2009," County Chair Keith Ellis said. "Parts of Newton County have received over a dozen inches of rain."

Ellis said the Yellow River, which comes out of Gwinnet County into Newton County, has not crested, yet, and could cause more damage. By signing the local state of emergency, Ellis is requesting assistance from the state, and, if needed, the federal government.

"That's the first step to obtaining money to clean up the after effects [of the flooding]," he said.

"Public works and other departments will probably have to focus all their attention on repairs over the course of the next month," he said. "As the water recedes, I suspect we’re going to find multiple culverts that have been washed out. Those will have to be replaced. We will do as much of the work ourselves as possible. We’re going to seek reimbursement from the state and federal government."

Currently, Newton County is not on Governor Nathan Deal's list of counties with state of emergency designation. Ellis said he spoke with Senator Rick Jeffares last night. The senator who promised to do everything possible to have the governor declare a state of emergency.

"If we get the state declaration, the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) is allowed to assist us with equipment and personnel," Ellis said.

Ellis said he spoke with Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson and assured him that the county would help the village in its cleanup efforts. Yellow River Park, he said, is completely submerged.

The Porterdale Mill Dam, off Highway 81 near the downtown business district, has developed a small leak, said Jody B. Nolan, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director for Covington-Newton County.

"An inspector from Georgia Safe Dams is en route to inspect the side wall of the Porterdale Mill Dam," he said.

Nolan said the leak is not threatening any structures or residents.

Check back to for updates.