UPDATE: Laurens County in moderate flood stage

EAST DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Laurens County is in a moderate flood stage as of Monday morning.

EMA Director Don Bryant said the river was at 27.5 feet. He expects a significant decrease within the next two days. Bryant explained the river forecasts show it hitting 25 feet or below by Tuesday and 21 feet by Thursday. The county should be below flood stage by Thursday. When the river hits 25 feet the county will be in a minor flood stage.

Rex Miller and Henderson Roads are closed. People living on Rex Miller Road should be moving back into their homes by Tuesday, according to Bryant. Bryant expects the county to start cleaning up Wednesday. 

The Oconee River is still going down in Laurens County.

EMA Director Don Bryant said the county expects a slight rise later in the week with all the rain Middle Georgia is seeing. The river was a little above 26 feet as of Wednesday morning and it’s projected to get down to 23 before rising to 25 feet again this weekend, according to Bryant. 

Bryant said more people are trying to get back into their homes, but some are still using boats to look at the damage. 

Laurens County’s flooding is down about a foot and a half, according to EMA Director Don Bryant.

Bryant said a few people were trying to get back into their homes Tuesday and more people could be coming back by Wednesday. The north part of the county has already started the clean up process. Residents on Rex Miller, Henderson and River Ridge Roads have seen significant water level improvements. EMA has opened up more of Rex Miller Road, but parts are staying closed.

Bryant said Laurens County will remain in a moderate flood stage until Thursday. The shelter at Yosemite Church in East Dublin is still available for those who are still displaced. The American Red Cross has a limited number of clean up kits available for homeowners starting to move back. 

Bryant doesn’t expect water levels to significantly increase over the next few days as rain moves in. He explained most of the Oconee River’s flooding came from water traveling south from North Georgia. He believes the river will have receded enough by the time water from North Georgia reaches Laurens County to only have a slight increase in water levels. 

Laurens County will remain under flood warning through the weekend. Water coming down from North Georgia has caused a few streets to close in Dublin.

People in the East Dublin area know there’s a flood risk when living on the Oconee River. Most residents self evacuated early last week after Laurens County EMA told them about a flood threat. The American Red Cross has been putting families in hotels.  It has also opened a shelter at Gethsemane UMC (501 Soperton Avenue in East Dublin) because the number of people evacuated from their homes has risen.

“Everybody who lives on the river know that it is a possible risk for flooding, however, it happens to rarely you aren’t prepared when it does happen,” explained Kara Evans, a family friend of a flood victim. 

Deputy Director of Laurens County EMA Bill Laird said the flood has affected about 35 homes along the Oconee River.

“Everywhere from Blackshear Ferry to south of Sportsman Club,” explained Laird.

At least a dozen people have been evacuated from flooded areas.

“We’ve actually got enough families displaced now that we’re going to open a shelter at Yosemite Church in East Dublin,” said Laird.

Evans went to Rex Miller Road Monday to check on her family friend.

“Only problem he’s had, thank goodness, is his carpet is wet,” said Evans.

Evans was shocked to see the water so high.

“It’s really out of the norm. For the most part we stay in a drought so you can usually walk across it, but to have to use a boat to get out of your driveway is out of the normal,” explained Evans.

Residents recalled the flood of 1998 where water levels got close to 30 feet. Laird said this is the most severe flooding Laurens County has had since then.

The county will remain on flood warning through the weekend, but some people affected by the flood are staying positive.

“He said it receded three inches just this morning, so he’s waiting it out,” said Evans.

Laird explained with a river as big as the Oconee, there isn’t much you can do to prepare for a major flood. Putting sandbags out can help in a smaller flood. You can follow Laurens County EMA on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

Categories: Laurens County, Local News

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