LIVE OAK, Fla. — Some roads along the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers have already been closed due to flooding and the rivers are continuing to rise.
Near Luraville, 229th Drive has been flooded and impassible to traffic since Thursday afternoon north of 178th Street. Just to the north of there, 237th Drive is also closed south of 152nd Street and has been since Friday afternoon.
Also closed is River Run Road, east of 288th Terrace, along the Santa Fe River.
“If you live close to the river and see water rising, take the appropriate actions and move vehicles and belongings,” said Sheriff Sam St. John, the county’s emergency management director, who added that the Division of Emergency Management would continue to keep residents in low-lying areas near the rivers updated on road closures.
He also said that if someone is need of assistance from the rising river, they should let the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office and Division of Emergency Management know.
All of the rivers in the area are under a flood warning and they all continue to rise as well.
At Suwannee Springs, the Suwannee River was at 64.2 feet Monday afternoon, just shy of flood stage (65 feet). However, according to the National Weather Service’s projections, it is supposed to reach 69.1 feet Saturday, which would mark major flooding.
At Ellaville, the Suwannee isn’t expected to reach flood stage (53 feet) until Thursday afternoon and is projected to reach nearly 55 feet by Monday.
The Suwannee River is projected to pass the flood stage of 47 feet in Dowling Park Sunday. It was at 42 feet Monday afternoon.
At Luraville, the river was nearing the 35-foot flood stage (34.87) on Monday afternoon and will near 40 feet by Monday.
The river had passed flood stage in Branford on Monday at 25.17 feet and will continue to rise, reaching 28.2 feet by Monday.
The Santa Fe River, meanwhile, has passed flood stage at Three River Estates, sitting at 20.67 feet Monday afternoon, nearing the moderate flooding level of 21 feet. By Monday, it is expected to be at 23.5 feet, just below major flooding of 24 feet.
At Hildreth, the Santa Fe River has also passed flood stage, reaching 20.37 feet Monday afternoon. It is projected to rise to 23.4 feet by Monday.
State of emergency declared in Hamilton County for river flooding
The Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners declared a state of emergency Thursday, Dec. 13 due to local river flooding.
The Suwannee River at White Springs is currently in the moderate flooding stage. Moderate flooding starts at 76 feet, the river was 80.01 feet Monday afternoon.
At 79 feet, water begins to enter homes and secondary roads become flooded. At 80 feet, Flooding begins at Stephen F. Foster State Park and secondary roads are closed. The river is projected to reach 82 feet by Friday.
The Alapaha River near Jennings decreased some Monday but is still in the moderate flooding stage. The river was 85.75 feet Monday afternoon and was 86.19 feet Sunday afternoon.
Roads closed in Hamilton County are SW 86th Boulevard, NW 79th Drive, NW 23rd Boulevard and County Road 143, the intersection of NW 24th Avenue and NW 45th Street all the way thru Florida Camp Sites, NW 34 Street Withlacoochee Walk campsites, NE 80th Boulevard (dirt road part of Woodpecker Route) closed from County Road 6 East to NE 36th Drive (Cypress Creek), SW 74th Way (Suwannee River Campsites) and SW 55th Drive. All boat ramps in Hamilton County are closed.
Suwannee River under flood warning
The Suwannee River is under a flood warning.
On Monday morning, the Suwannee River at Branford was 25.09 feet. Flood stage is 25.0 feet.
It is forecasted that the river will continue rising to near 28.1 feet by Sunday evening, Dec. 23. Additional rises may be possible thereafter.
At 29 feet, Suwannee Cove Road in Suwannee County begins to flood, restricting access to homes near the river. In Lafayette County, access is restricted to homes along SE River Drive.
As of Monday morning, the Suwannee River at Luraville (State Road 51) was 34.74 feet. Flood stage is 35 feet.
It is forecasted to continue to rise to near 39.4 feet by Sunday afternoon.
At 40 feet, the flooding will extend through wooded areas on the Suwannee County side of the river along SR 51. In Lafayette County, NW Savannah Road floods.
“We have nine roads currently closed due to water over the road,” Marc Land, Lafayette County Emergency Management Director said.
Roads closed as of Monday afternoon are SE Caren Lane, SE Earl Boulevard, SE Suwannee Trails, SE Yorkshire Road, SE Friendship Road, SE Badger Road, SE Land Road, NW Riverbank Road and NW Ezell Landing Road.
Land said there are no boat ramps closed at the moment but Ezell Landing boat ramp is inaccessible due to water on Ezell Landing Road.
He warns against resident driving into water that is over the road. He said drivers cannot know if the road is washed out and how deep the water is.