With all the recent downpours, the city is scrambling to fix leaking roofs and flooded basements, control mosquitoes, clean up yards and parks and keep children busy when pools close and ball games are postponed.
The wet days have caused problems that are difficult to fix when the rain keeps falling. Work crews can’t repair roofs or maintain overgrown landscaping in the rain.
“We are probably getting 30 to 40 calls a day, every day, from people who have roofs that are leaking,” said Lisa Fulkerson,
the office manager for Lovelace Roofing Co.
Crews are falling further behind while waiting on dry weather, said Fulkerson, who has told some customers to get on waiting lists with several companies.
Servpro of Augusta, a fire and water damage restoration service, has received about 20 calls a day for water-related issues, owner Philip McLain said.
With the ground saturated, water is rising into basements and causing septic tank backups, he said. Crews have been drying out homes with dehumidifiers or water extraction and removing carpet and sheet rock when necessary.
“As much rain as we have had, you might not know there’s a problem until it starts,” McLain said.
Servpro has responded to five calls for fire and smoke damage from lightning strikes at homes, he said.
Rick Acree, the facilities manager for the city’s Recreation, Parks and Facilities Department, said landscape crews can’t keep up with grounds maintenance with grass growing so quickly.
“When you put that much water on the grass, it’s almost better than irrigation,” he said.
During summer, grounds crews start working early in the morning before the threat of afternoon thunderstorms. They are spending a lot of time maintaining equipment or finding other work to keep busy when they can’t be outside, Acree said.
Heavy rainfall has caused erosion at some parks, including Pendleton King
Park and the Riverwalk, recreation Director Bob Levine said.
Afternoon thunderstorms have also forced three outdoor Richmond County swimming pools to close some days, Levine said. The pools are open from
2 to 5 p.m., when storms often pop up.
“Certainly, that has a negative impact on how many people can go swimming,” he said.
Though rainwater creates more mosquito issues, Richmond County Mosquito Control can’t inspect homes and spray for mosquitoes during evening hours when rain has been falling, operations manager Fred Koehle said.
“We have things to do, but we can’t do it because of
the weather situation,” he said.
Augusta is also dealing with an extra-large mosquito variety called gallinippers, known for their painful bite. The inch-long insects originate in Florida and likely blew into the area during tropical storms, Koehle said.
Wet weather is also affecting roads, storm drains and ditches. Augusta 311, the city’s customer service call center, received about 50 calls in June about flooding and clogged storm drains and ditches.