Area EMA directors prepare for possible flooding

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Emergency management officials said Tuesday they are closely monitoring the area's rivers, lakes and creeks for possible flooding as the threat of rain lingers.

According to Albany Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency Director James Carswell, the immediate concern is the Kinchafoonee Creek in Lee County.

"The Kinchafoonee in Lee County has a high probability of flooding," he said. "The Flint River hasn't reached a level of concern yet. They (Lee County) are impacted a lot sooner (by flood waters) than Dougherty."

Lee County Fire Chief and EMA Director James Howell said at 1 p.m. Monday the waters of the Kinchafoonee were at 15.55 feet.

"Flood stage (for the creek) is at 13 feet," he said Tuesday afternoon. "It is projected that the creek will rise to 18.2 feet by 1 a.m. Wednesday."

Howell said the National Weather Service has indicated to EMA officials that the Kinchafoonee will crest a foot higher than it did last December.

"We are trying to tell residents along the Kinchafoonee, who were here last December, to note that flood waters will be a foot above last year's," he said. "We want people to be prepared to take action."

Howell said Lee County officials will continue to remain vigilant throughout the week.

"We will continue to monitor and we ask that if anyone has any questions about the situation to call us," he said.

The Lee County Emergency Management Agency can be reached at (229) 759-6090.

Tim Barry, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, said Tuesday evening that most of the flood warnings for Southwest Georgia had ended due to the small amount of rain generated Monday.

"At 7 a.m. Monday morning, Albany had gained just under one inch of rainfall," he said.

Areas north of Albany, such as Crisp County and Sumter County, had generated more than two inches.

Crisp and Sumter have experienced minor flooding and closed roads due to the rain.

Barry said local rivers and creeks probably won't reach flood stage until next week.

"It is because of the frequency of the rain why we are experiencing isolated flooding now," he said.

According to meteorologists, low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico is continuing to generate wet weather in the South, a pattern that Barry said is not likely to end.

"The frequency of this occurrence is unusual for this time of year," he said. "I don't see a break in the weather anytime soon."

Meteorologists predict that this winter will be one of the wettest and coldest in years.

Bruce Maples, Albany-Dougherty engineering director, said he has been working closely with public works to prepare for any possible flooding that might occur.

"Public works has been cleaning debris from the catch basins and we have been monitoring the situation closely," he said.

Maples said the Flint River is expected to peak late Thursday.

"When it gets to 27 feet we get into a new action plan," he said. "But, weather is always subject to change. For now, we are monitoring until the situation changes."

Officials said Tuesday it will be up to how frequent the rain accumulates that will determine whether a new action plan must be taken.

"We could have some issues, but that depends on the amount of rain and where we get it," Carswell said. "We always have a plan of action to deal with these situations, but that hasn't taken affect yet."

Worth County EMA Director and Fire Chief Lyndell Ford said they are also monitoring the situation, but have not experienced flooding yet.