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Area water levels drop

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Water levels along the Kinchafhoonee Creek dropped along with levels on the Flint River, a National Weather Service official said.

"The Kinchafhoonee went up to 18.6 feet on Wednesday, 2 inches below major flood stage," Kelly Godsey, a weather service meteorologist said Saturday. "That was all southeast of Leesburg."

The Flint rose to about 22 feet Wednesday, Godsey said. The water could go to 24 feet by Sunday, but that would be much further downstream near Bainbridge, he added.

The Flint River water levels must hit 31 feet to be considered moderate flooding, Godsey said. With no rain forecast until about Wednesday, people along the water could stay dry for the near future.

After living on the 200 block of Creekside Drive in Lee County for 21 years, Lonnie Raper, 60, has seen the water rise before. The waterline was about 20 feet from his home Saturday.

"This isn't a flood," Raper said. "It isn't a flood until it reaches the house."

In 1994 the waters rose and flooded his house, Raper said. He rebuilt but without flood insurance it wasn't easy, he said.

"We built about 3-feet above the 100-year-flood plain," Raper said. "But when it rains and the water rises, we watch it every night."

The 100-year flood is a statistic that indicates that there is a 1 percent chance the area would be inundated about once every 100 years.

About a mile to the south on Creekside Drive the water had receded about 20 feet from its high mark in Phillip Phillips' back yard.

"When the water came up we had to move the trailer and other things out of the way," Phillips, 19, said. "If it got up to the house we would have to do some packing and moving the important things."

The National Weather Service called for today to be sunny with a high of 54 degrees. Rain doesn't show up in the forecast until Wednesday, when there is a slight chance of thunderstorms.