Officials offer evacuation plans for Augusta residents

 

While water levels hold steady on the Savannah River, local officials are taking measures to prepare Augusta residents with evacuation plans.

The Richmond County Sher­iff’s Office, the Savannah River­keeper and Augusta’s Emergency Manage­ment Division have teamed up to warn residents in flood-prone areas of potential hazards should water levels rise in the future.

“We’ve met with the people, took their information and gave them suggestions for how to prepare for flooding,” said Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Mie Lucas. “We have teams on standby and we have plans for evacuation.”

Lucas identifed Butler Creek, Windsor Spring and the Meadow­brook areas as the most at risk in an e-mail Wednesday. Officials have maintained contact with houseboat residents at Riverwalk and Riverfront marinas, she said.

The e-mail said walking paths along the river between Eighth Street and the Riverwalk Ma­rina will be closed until it is safe to access the area.

“I went out there (Satur­day) morning to check on the levels, and it’s gone down a couple of inches,” she said.

With Thurmond Lake around 331 feet above sea level Saturday, the Army Corps of Engineers has no plans to increase the flow at Thur­mond Dam, spokesman Billy Birdwell said. The lake can safely hold water at 335 feet above sea level.

“We expect the river to stay pretty much the same, but we’re at the mercy of nature’s rainfall,” he said.

National Weather Ser­vice Meteorologist Hunter Coleman said the Augusta area has seen the rain taper off this weekend. As of Saturday afternoon, Augusta Regional Airport had measured 0.70 inch of rain. Daniel Field recorded 0.21 inch.

“What we’re seeing is the remnants of Tropical Storm Chantal,” Coleman said. “A few storms have developed on the coastal plain. We’re watching those, but it could take them a while to reach Au­gusta.”

In the meantime, Lucas said residents should remain vigilant and stay off the water.

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