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Area officials monitor river, creek levels

ALBANY — While the Flint River was expected to crest at 15.4 feet today, far from its flood stage of 26 feet, the Kinchafoonee Creek in Lee County is a more serious issue, said Jim Vaught, deputy directory of Albany-Dougherty Emergency Management.

According to Vaught, the Kinchafoonee in Lee County had risen slightly past its official flood stage of 13 feet at midday Tuesday and was expected to reach 15 feet by 1:15 p.m. today.

The National Weather Service projects Kinchafoonee waters will subside after it hits 15 feet, Vaught said, still a level which can cause minor flooding. He stresses there are no guarantees. According to Vaught, flooding could be termed “moderate” when the water level reaches 16 feet.

At 10.3 feet, the Mucklalee Creek is still far below its flood stage of 15 feet, Vaught said.

“We’ve just gotten some water over Turkey Farm Road,” said Paul Branch, assistant chief and deputy EMA director of the Lee County Fire Department. “And if history is a guide, we might see some flooding around Creekside and Knollwood. We had crest of 15 feet in February and that helps us know what to expect this time.”

Branch stressed that other factors, including rainfall, in areas north of Leesburg could have an impact on local flooding. For the most part, as long as coming rainfall remains moderate, flooding should be minor and relatively easy to deal with, Branch said.

“If we just get some light showers these next few days we should be all right,” Branch said. “On the other hand, if we get a day of heavy rains, it could turn into something more serious.”

The unusually heavy rainfall has caused some minor flooding in low-lying Albany areas, including the Radium Spring Springs subdivision, the Moultrie Road area around the county line and the Putney community, where Vaught said pecan trees were “standing in water.”

“So far the water isn’t in the homes,” Vaught said, “and no one has asked for a boat. Those who live in flood-prone, low-lying areas aren’t surprised by this. We advise everyone to have a plan, to be prepared and to stay informed.”

Vaught said City and County public works are staying busy removing debris from drainage areas and pumping out holding tanks to prepare for additional rainfall.