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April 21, 2014

Rivers update: Health advisory issued

Live Oak — The Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued a health advisory for the Withlacoochee River and for the Suwannee River between Ellaville (near U.S. 90 where the Withlacoochee enters the Suwannee) and State Road 250 at Dowling Park. The advisory was issued after lab tests received on April 18 showed higher than normal levels of fecal coliform bacteria. The DOH urges residents who come in contact with the river water in these areas to to wash thoroughly, especially before eating and drinking.

Flood warnings remain for White Springs, Ellaville, Luraville, and Wilcox on the Suwannee; the Alapaha at Statenville and Jennings; the Aucilla at Lamont; and Fort White, Three Rivers, and Hildreth on the Santa Fe.

The NWS changed the forecast flooding at the Suwannee at White Springs from minor to moderate severity, with a crest 3.5' above flood stage at 80.5'. The river crested 5' higher in 2012.

Otherwise, minor flooding is occurring or expected on the Suwannee, moderate flooding is occurring on the Alapaha and at Fort White and Hildreth on the Santa Fe, and major flooding is expected at Three Rivers. Three Rivers is expected to rise above 24 by the end of the week. If it does, it will be the highest level since April 2009 when it crested at 26.8'.

The Econfina and Steinhatchee rivers are cresting just below minor flood stage.

Levy County closed its 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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