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April 29, 2014

How will rain impact area rivers already bursting at their banks?

Live Oak — From the Suwannee River Water Management District. 

Forecasts include predicted rainfall for the next 2 days. Should the upper Suwannee and its tributaries get rain significant enough to cause the rivers to rise again, the effects will not be seen downstream for at least a week. As it stands on Tuesday morning, the expected rainfall will prolong existing conditions rather than cause another significant rise. Forecasts will become more certain after the front has passed through this weekend.

Dowling Park appears to be cresting at a foot below flood stage. Luraville can expect another 2-3" of rise by tomorrow. Branford is expected to rise another 6-8" before cresting on Saturday. Wilcox could rise another foot by Monday, with a crest about a foot lower than 2009 flood expected. By mid-week, Manatee Springs should crest just below flood stage, followed by Fowler's Bluff with a crest near 6.7', about 6" lower than the 2009 flood. 

Lower Santa Fe gages are rising due to the Suwannee, with a crest expected about 6-10" lower than the 2009 flood by Sunday at the Three Rivers and Hildreth/129 Bridge gages. Major flooding is occurring at Three Rivers. 

Since this is a backwater flood on the Santa Fe, the effects become less and less upstream of Fort White. Blue Springs and Ginnie Springs are open for swimming and are beautiful right now. Flooding is not a concern in the area around High Springs and in the upper Santa Fe above O'Leno. 

Hamilton and Levy counties closed their boat ramps on the Suwannee River due to high water. Idle Speed/No Wake restrictions are being enforced by the FWC on the Suwannee River from U.S. 90 at Ellaville to 1 mile below the Fowler's Bluff boat ramp (Zones 1-4), and on the Santa Fe River from O'Leno to the Suwannee confluence (Zone 5). While there are no enforced restrictions above Ellaville, boaters should be aware that there are rapid currents and debris which make for unsafe operating conditions. Report boating violations to FWC dispatch at 1-888-404-3922.

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