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River waters receding in most areas

An Albany sewer maintenance truck stops Wednesday to release water into the drain at the intersection of Hedrick Land and 6th Avenue in an effort to clear the underground lines and avoid any potential flooding due to heavy rains.

An Albany sewer maintenance truck stops Wednesday to release water into the drain at the intersection of Hedrick Land and 6th Avenue in an effort to clear the underground lines and avoid any potential flooding due to heavy rains.

THOMASVILLE, Ga. — Thomas County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Chris Jones is breathing a little easier today.

He was able to reopen all of the county’s paved roads for traffic Wednesday with most of the dirt roads now safe for traffic as well.

Jones saw the Ochlockonee River swell as predicted, but it stopped short of inundating dozens of homes and prompting evacutions of 1,000 or so people as the Southeastern River Forecast Center had predicted.

“We had far fewer homes threatened than what was reported on (SRFC’s) website,” Jones said. “All but about three have standing water still surrounding them, and even that has started to drop.”

Jones said the river is in full retreat, a welcome site to a man who has had a lot of tense moments over the last week.

The SRFC, a branch of the National Weather Service, showed on its website that the river crested early Wednesday morning at 22.13 feet in Thomas County.

Just down the road in Bainbridge, authorities have been anxiously watching the Flint River, which is predicted to hit 28.1 feet Friday, 3 feet above flood stage. Even so, Deputy EMA Director Tonya Griffin said the river should crest without causing any significant damage.

“We’re OK at 28 feet,” Griffin said. “We’ve had some problems with localized flooding, some field runoff and that kind of stuff, but as far as river flooding goes, we should be OK.”

Griffin said 11 roads ramained closed Wednesday in Decatur County and that three houses remain inaccessible: two that are surrounded by water and one that has about 2 inches of water in the home thanks to runoff from a nearby field.

In Lee and Terrell counties, eyes are focused solely on the Kinchafoonee Creek, which was predicted to jump its banks Friday. That forecast has since been adjusted, with forecasters now saying the creek has crested at 15.1 feet.

Even so, Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals said his office will continue to monitor the creek to make sure no one is trapped and the roads remain passable.

“Me and the fire chief and Public Works have been watching this thing since Friday, and we’re ready should someone need us,” Rachals said. “Hopefully, it won’t come to that and people have taken the necessary precautions.”