LEE CO., GA (WALB) - The Kinchafoonee Creek has reached its third highest level ever. Flood levels have only been worse during the devastating floods of 1994 and 1998.
Water has been flowing rapidly under the U.S. 19 bridge over the Kinchafoonee Creek. Emergency managers said they had never seen the creek rise as fast as it did over the last 24 hours.
Lee County EMA Director James Howell stresses that the area is under a flood warning, not a flood watch.
So much rain fell and so many streams in Georgia are rising so fast, the National Weather Service computer models are having a hard time predicting what will happen.
"It's changed four time this morning which is very unusual in my ten year I've never seen those many changes take place in that short of time," said James Howell.
Another thing he wants people to keep in mind is snakes. Although it is December, and they are suppose to be hibernating, officials warn you to stay cautious due to the warm weather.
A woman was nearly washed away in the raging Kinchafoonee Creek Friday as she tried to kayak back to her parents flooded home.
Mr. and Mrs. Pressley said they woke up early Friday morning to water rising in their home near the Kinchafoonee Creek. They did not expect the water to crest until later on in the afternoon.
"It started coming up real fast, and when I went out there to look at four o'clock it done been flooded around the house and the yard all flooded," said Loma Pressley.
When their daughter called to wish them a Merry Christmas, they asked for her and her eight siblings to help.
The woman's family and onlookers yelled at her to hold on to any branch she could reach to keep her out of the fastest current.
Moments later, her nephew in arrived with a motor boat to rescue her in.
"She was kind of leaning and water was getting in the kayak. And I was like please don't so I told her to sit still and on my count I'll get in her in the boat at the right time and we waited. And I got her picked up and put her in the boat and we got the kayak to so that's a win," said Brett Pressley.
The evacuation and rescue didn't ruin the Pressleys Christmas celebration. They got together at the home of one of their daughter's today as planned.
Some homes in the 10-12 miles downstream of the rescue are expected to flood overnight or Saturday morning.
Fire Chief Ron Rowe said first responders are keeping a close eye on the river. He also urges people who live near the Flint River evacuate.
"We're out watching today, watching the water, where it's rising, how quickly it's rising, and we put some markers out that we'll be checking from time to time, and trying to keep in touch with the citizens that live near the water and let them know what's happening," said Chief Ron Rowe.
The Flint is expected to rise to nearly 34 feet by 1 p.m. late Tuesday, making it the sixth highest level ever for the river in Albany.
Lee Co. Emergency Management officials are not ordering evacuations, but they are encouraging many people to leave their homes. They went door to door in areas at risk, giving people the latest forecast and letting them know what's likely to flood.
Officials recommend everyone evacuate from areas where the water is rising. They said many of the residents have been through the evacuation before.
"At the point that you feel like it's unsafe for you, by all means get the materials that you need, your major materials that you need to get out, go ahead and get that stuff out and seek shelter elsewhere," said Bobby Spencer.
Lee Co. Public Works have sandbags ready for people who live in the flooded areas. Crews started packing and distributing sandbags in the afternoon.
One family showed up immediately once they heard they could get the sandbags. They said they had water wells they wanted to protect around their home.
"We'll be island in and what we worry about mainly is the inside and of course the well which will be the main thing all the furniture and stuff can be replaced but we're hoping it's not going to get that bad," said Stephanie Lamb.
Once the river crests at the gauge on the Kinchafoonee Creek at Pinewood Road, it will take 18 to 24 hours for the water to get to more populated areas around Century Road and Creekside Drive.
Emergency officials are urging people who live on Creekside Drive, Cypress Point Circle, and Uncle Jimmy's Lane to pack up and get out.
If you have a flood-related emergency, you are urged to call 9-1-1.Lee County residents can call emergency management at (229) 759-6090 or dispatch at (229) 759-6015 with non-emergency questions and public works at (229) 759-6028 if you need sandbags.