Heavy rains increase flood risk

Savannah Reams
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Up to 10 inches of rain fell throughout South Georgia and North Florida last weekend, raising water levels along the Alapaha, Aucilla and Withlacoochee rivers and creating the potential for flooding in some areas, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
In terms of the Aucilla River, which crosses Jefferson County at Lamont and Nutall Rise, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an alert for the former area.
According to the NWS's advanced hydrologic prediction service, the river is expected to rise as high as 52.6 feet by Friday, Dec. 7, and then begin declining by Saturday.
The NWS classifies 51 feet as action stage, 53 as flood stage, 56 as moderate flood stage, and 62 as major stage. The river was at 52.09 feet on Thursday, Dec. 6.
The NWS reports that at 53 feet, minor lowland flooding begins; at 55 feet, widespread lowland flooding occurs and the water will approach a few houses on U.S. 27; at 56 feet, a few houses near U.S. 27 will flood; and at 62 feet, major flood damage will occur, with the water
reaching U.S. 27.
The Aucilla River's historic crests at Lamont have occurred as follows, in descending order: 57.77 feet on April 8, 1973; 57.10 feet on Sept. 18, 1957; 57.06 feet on March 8, 1991; 56.73 feet on April 9, 1984; and 56.19 feet on Feb. 16, 1986.
More recent crests at Lamont, in ascending order, are reported as 51.79 feet on Jan. 30, 2017; 53.77 feet on April 7, 2016; 53.78 feet on March 23, 2014; 54.61feet on Jan. 25,2010; 54.62 feet on April 23, 2014; and 54.62 feet on April 23, 2014.
The Aucilla River is expected to rise to 4.87 feet near Nutall Rise on Saturday night, Dec. 8. The NWS classifies 4.87 feet as a minor flood stage for this area, with 6.1 feet classified as moderate flood stage and 8.1 feet as a major flood stage.
The Suwannee River Water Management District RWMD is actively monitoring the water levels. It advises residents and businesses along the impacted areas to monitor conditions, identify alternate routes to their homes and businesses in the event a main route is inaccessible, and make preparations to move valuables and animals in low lying areas to higher elevations and evacuate if necessary.
In order to view information recorded by SRWMD on an hourly basis regarding river and lake levels, visit mysuwanneeriver.org/realtime/rain-levels, or call (386) 362-6626.