Flood Threat Continues in Georgia as More Rain Moves into State

December 31, 2015

More rain moved into Georgia on Wednesday as forecasters warned that another 1 to 2 inches was expected to fall across much of the area by week’s end, adding to the deluge that already saturated the state in recent days, authorities said.

The heaviest rain Wednesday through Friday was expected over central Georgia, the National Weather Service said.

A flood watch was extended to Friday evening, authorities said. It covers all of north Georgia and extends as far south and east as the Americus and Augusta areas.

Flooding is continuing along many Georgia creeks and rivers, the weather service said. Forecasters say the additional rain that began falling Wednesday will likely prolong flooding in many of those flooded areas and cause new flooding as well.

In northeast Georgia, Oconee County sheriff’s officials asked some residents to evacuate their homes Tuesday night over concerns that a dam may fail on a lake in their subdivision, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. County officials said that if the dam fails, it would cut off access to about nine homes.

In the northeast Georgia mountains, the rain-swollen creeks and streams that pour into the Chattahoochee River and, ultimately, into Lake Lanier were pushing the lake to levels not seen in years. Lake Lanier’s level was nearing 1,075 feet above sea level Wednesday, data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers showed. The lake’s record high level is 1,077.15 feet, set on April 14, 1964.

The Corps of Engineers routinely releases water from the lake, one of metro Atlanta’s main sources of drinking water, into the Chattahoochee River downstream. However, if it is raining within the basin and releases are increased, more people will be flooded downstream, Corps spokeswoman Lisa Parker told The Times of Gainesville.

In the Columbus area near the Georgia-Alabama line, authorities said the Chattahoochee this week likely will remain at or close to its current flood stage as upriver dams release water, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

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