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April 16, 2014

River flooding update

Live Oak — From Megan Wetherington, P.E., Senior Professional Engineer, Suwannee River Water Managment District:

The National Weather Service expects the Suwannee River to continue to climb, but at this time significant flooding on the Suwannee is not expected. As of noon on Wednesday the 16th, the NWS expects the Suwannee at Ellaville to crest about a foot below the flood stage of 54 feet by Monday the 21st. This would be the highest level since March of 2013 when the river reached 54.4’. The current NWS forecast has Branford rising to at least 27’, which is 2’ below flood stage and close to where it crested in March 2013. The Alapaha near Statenville should crest near flood stage by Friday, which will be its highest stage since August of last year. The Withlacoochee has been a relatively minor player in the recent flooding compared to past years. It should crest about where it did last month, 9 feet below flood stage and 14 feet lower than a year ago.

The lower Santa Fe River continues to climb as the rising Suwannee causes it to back up. Three Rivers Estates could see another 1.5’ rise by early next week.  On Friday, Three Rivers will have been above flood stage for 28 days, surpassing 2009 as the longest period above flood stage since 2005, when it stayed above 19’ for 50 days. While the current flooding is being caused by the Suwannee, another 2-3” of rain in the Santa Fe basin by Friday could cause more flooding upstream of Three Rivers and extend the amount of time the area is above flood stage. The heaviest rain is supposed to be south and east of the Suwannee and its Georgia tributaries.

The FWC is still enforcing the idle speed/no wake restrictions on the Suwannee River from U.S. 90 to the Hal Adams bridge at Luraville and from Little River Springs down to 1 mile past the Fowler’s Bluff ramp, along with the lower Santa Fe from O’Leno to the Suwannee confluence. There should be no change in this status through the weekend. Based on the current NWS forecast, the stretch of the Suwannee between the Hal Adams bridge and Little River Springs should be activated sometime on Saturday, bringing all 5 zones into activation.

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