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Monday, September 28, 2009 - 3:40am

Skies Clear For Sections of Rain-Soaked State

North Georgia is getting a respite from the continuous rain that swept the region last week and sparked widespread flooding.

The National Weather Service says the entire state should see mostly clear and sunny skies through at least mid-week. Forecasters predict the next chance for rain won't return until Friday.

However, forecasters still have flood warnings in place today for several rivers because of all the run-off from recent rains. Sections of Whitfield and Murray counties are in the flood warning zone along the Conasauga River. Further south and east, there are flood warnings for sections of the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers, affecting the counties of Bleckley, Pulaski, Dodge, Telfair, Wilcox, Clarke, Greene, and Oconee.

Over the weekend, top state insurance officials revised flood-damage estimates to $500 million. That doubles the previous estimate from the middle of last week.

Officials say 20,000 homes and other buildings suffered major damage from flooding—mainly in areas north and west of Atlanta.

Residents in 17 Georgia counties are now eligible for individual federal disaster help.

Also in place, there are nine Georgia counties eligible for federal assistance for public recovery projects—meant specifically for infrastructure. But with the federal government covering 75% of that cost, the rest must come from the state.