Heavy flooding in Baker County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Heavy flooding in Baker County

Newton-   Heavy flooding has forced dozens of people along the Flint River in Baker County to evacuate the area.

The flooding near Newton is so severe that state prisoners have been bussed in to help. "It's approximately 29.5 feet," says Baker County Emergency Management Director Andy Belinc. It could get even worse. "They had projected the level here to get to 32.3 feet. At this time, the latest I got is that it's possible that will get lowered to 30 feet," adds Belinc.

That's an optimistic hope now that more rain is passing through. Belinc says that in this type of situation, every drop counts. "One foot of water is going to travel a long way. We've still got people in their homes. 32 feet is going to get to that point."

Emergency management workers say that reflects their main concern: the new storm fronts. They say that would reverse any drop in the flood waters, and compound the problem even more. "It has an effect on everybody downstream. The water up there is going to come through and eventually reach us. And the more rain, the higher it's going to get," says Belinc.

Emergency workers are giving people constant updates, even going door to door. But they say veteran residents already know what to do. "The '94 flood, the '98 flood, everybody has learned from that. Those that have been through it know when the water's going to reach them, when to get out," says Belinc.

Authorities say that's part of the reason nobody has been hurt so far during this round of flooding. That, and the camaraderie. "You just have to keep moving on to the next point, moving people out, making sure they're out of harm's way, just taking care of everybody," says Belinc. A ray of encouragement, until a preliminary damage assessment can be made.

Officials say the best thing for people who are staying is to watch the news, keep in touch with authorities, and just pay attention in general.

Posted by stephen.ryan@walb.com

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