More Heavy Rainfall Could Lead to Greater Threat of Flooding

By Derek Kinkade   - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  It seems like everywhere you look, all you see nowadays is standing water.  To understand why the water isn't going anywhere, you first have to understand what's going on with the ground right below our feet.

Dr. Troy Keller is an assistant professor of environmental science at Columbus State University.

He explains that our ground doesn't just soak up all the water on top – but that absorbing water is a very dynamic process."It's not sort of like a cup that fills up to a certain level, it's much more like a cup with holes in the bottom that's constantly draining down," he says.

While the ground close to the surface is saturated from all the recent rains, water is constantly flowing underground to vast storage areas called aquifers.

This is a process that can take many years, so in a way, the recent rains are continuing to recharge our water supply after several years of drought -- and, with warmer weather on the way, we may see some of the surface water disappear.

Dr. Keller explains: "As the temps start to rise and we get faster evaporation and the trees start to leaf out again, there will be a greater capacity for the ground to actually absorb and remove the water that's there."

But, with the possibility of more above average rainfall and a saturated ground, the threat for flooding remains high across the Valley.  There are some things the average citizen can do, however, to protect their property, according to Deputy Director of the Columbus EMA and EMS, Riley Land.

"If citizens are having water backing up on the roads or streets or causing hazard and obstructions, they can call the city at 311 and report that," he adds.

Through February 22nd, Columbus has received 8.90 inches of rain (at the airport, the official reporting site).  Through this same time in 2009, we had only 3.91 inches.  Last year turned out to be the wettest year of all time in the Fountain City, and we are definitely on pace for another wet spring.

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