Flint’s waters receding

Published 11:09 am Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Flint River in Bainbridge appeared to be slowly receding after cresting at 30.91 feet on Monday night and impacting a number of area residents. The river measured at 30.69 feet as of 9:45 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The Flint River rose over its moderate flood stage of 27 feet early Saturday morning to more than 29 feet early Sunday morning. The river had reached its flood stage of 25 feet during the night of Thursday, April 2.

Several homes in the River Vale, River View and Flint River Heights neighborhoods had river water in their back yards and in the lower levels of homes and storage structures. Sheriff Wiley Griffin took a helicopter flight to survey flood damage on Monday morning, following similar flights conducted by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia State Patrol during the weekend.

“There’s water coming out of the Big Slough and it’s probably going to go a little bit higher, in my opinion,” Sheriff Griffin said shortly after noon Monday. “It’s flowing into the river and the river appears to be cresting. We’re probably going to be dealing with approximately the current level of water for the next 48 hours.”

Residents in the Slough Loop neighborhood were evacuated with the help of the Salvation Army on Sunday because of rising water in the Big Slough, a natural depression that carries stormwater and other runoff from Mitchell County to southern Decatur County. A few families spent the night at the Charter House Inn, while others stayed with relatives and friends, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The river ran swiftly during the weekend, carrying away a large amount of debris downstream. The river was discharging 64,300 cubic feet of water per second as of Monday morning, 4.6 times its average flow over the last seven years, according to the U.S. Geological Service.

Some people took the opportunity to fish in the floodwaters at places like Cheney Griffin Park and the Earle May Boat Basin, while youth played in the water that filled up yards and covered streets.

Meanwhile, the Spring Creek near Iron City fell rapidly on Monday, measuring at 14.98 feet as of 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, below the flood stage of 16 feet. The Spring Creek crested at 20.59 during the night of Friday, April 3. The creek’s floodwaters washed over several boat landings, including the one at the Brinson bridge, and came close to reaching the roadway of U.S. Highway 84 West.

Flooding of the Spring Creek also caused problems in Miller and Seminole counties.