Valdosta Daily Times

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February 26, 2013

Flooding expected

Many area schools close as more rain heads this way

VALDOSTA — With more rains expected and a possibility for flooding, several regional schools canceled classes for today.

Lowndes, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Cook, Lanier counties’ schools systems canceled today’s classes. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College also canceled classes. Valdosta City Schools issued a statement Monday evening that its schools will be open today.

There is a 70 percent chance of more severe thunderstorms today, largely through 1 p.m., with a high near 74 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Up to half an inch of additional rain is possible today, the weather service says.

A flood warning was issued for the Withlacoochee River at Skipper Bridge Road, affecting Berrien and Lowndes counties. The flood stage at that area was 13 feet; at 2:30 p.m. Monday, the river had reached 13.7 feet, resulting in minor flooding, and was expected to rise above 17 feet today, according to the weather service.

A flash-flood watch was in effect for most of the tri-state area Monday and was expected to remain in effect this morning.

Lowndes County Warnings

Lowndes County officials urged citizens to stay in place Monday evening and today, if possible.

For Monday evening, Lowndes County Emergency Management warned individuals to stay indoors and avoid travel.

Rising water levels were a concern. A flood warning had been issued for the Withlacoochee River with levels indicating a possible impact on Langdale Park Monday afternoon.

“Lowndes County Emergency Management will continue to work with available resources over the next several days to monitor local river levels,” according to a county announcement.

On Monday afternoon, the only area of immediate concern was Franks Creek Bridge, over Franks Creek. If water levels continued to rise, the bridge could be closed until water levels go down.

“Historically, flooding has not affected local roads and/or residences until water levels reach approximately 17 feet,” according to Lowndes County officials. “While there is no cause for immediate concern, citizens are encouraged to remain aware of their surroundings. Citizens may monitor local river levels by accessing real time stream gauge information by visiting the following link: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=tae.

The county warned motorists to stay away from flooded streets, roads and bridges under all circumstances.

“Standing water may hide significant damage to the infrastructure underneath; take precaution and avoid flooded areas,” according to Lowndes County officials. “Local road conditions are being closely monitored. Lowndes County Emergency Management will utilize the CodeRed Emergency Notification system in the event emergency information is released. Citizens are encouraged to sign up for this free service by visitingwww.lowndescounty.com and clicking on the CodeRed icon.

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