STARKVILLE — Oktibbeha County is on pace to receive more precipitation this year than any year on record and, as a result, planned improvements to the county”s roadways have fallen by the wayside.
As of Thursday afternoon, Starkville had received 83.73 inches of precipitation this year. The wettest year on record was 1983, when Starkville received 85.75 inches of precipitation, said Chad Entremont, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Jackson.
“And we”re not even finished the month yet,” Entremont said.
Heavy rainfalls have wreaked havoc on county road crews. The county planned to pave nearly 5 1/2 miles of roadway in 2009, according to the Board of Supervisors” four-year road plan. Inclement weather, however, prevented any of those paving projects from happening.
“We didn”t pave anything this year,” County Administrator Don Posey said. “That”s never happened before.”
Still, road crews have stayed busy, Posey said.
The county cleared, but did not build or pave, three-tenths of a mile of Hubbard Road, from Wade Road to the point where Hubbard Road meets Wade Road again; cleared and built, but did not pave, one mile of Love Hill Road, beginning at Turner Road going west, and starting at Neely Road going east; cleared and built, but did not pave, one mile of Bluefield Road, from the end of the existing pavement heading south; and built, but did not pave, one mile of Harrell Road. Building consists of everything from widening and leveling existing roadways, which sometimes are nothing more than “old wagon trails,” to building ditches and clearing new culverts, Posey said.
The county planned to build and pave 1.2 miles of Big Creek Road, from the end of the pavement going west to Sturgis-Maben Road; and build and pave .7 mile of Dry Creek Road. Neither of those projects came to fruition.
“The rain is a big enemy,” Posey said. “The rain is a really, really big enemy.”
“I”m 67 years old and I”ve never seen rain like we”ve had here this year in my life,” he added.
Starkville seems poised to break its all-time precipitation record this year, Entremont said. A storm system rolled into town last night and another is expected to drop rain on the Golden Triangle in the middle of next week.
While 1983 produced the most precipitation in Starkville history and this year is second all-time, 1979 was the third wettest year at 82.2 inches, 1912 was the fourth wettest year at 76.27 inches, and 1961 was fifth with 69.56 inches.
The rain this year has produced an unusual amount of potholes in county roadways, Posey said. Crews are out nearly every day to fill the holes, Posey said, so water doesn”t seep into the cracked asphalt, freeze and expand during the cold winter months.
“Potholes are a tremendous problem,” he said.
County work crews also have stayed busy repairing gravel roadways that have “washed out” during heavy rainfalls and flooding, Posey said. Several large culverts also have been replaced and more replacements are set for the near future. Additionally, county work crews have repaired several bridges, removed downed trees and completed a number of other activities, Posey said.
“We”ve definitely been busy,” he said.