Rain Causing Savannah River To Rise In Augusta - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Rain Causing Savannah River To Rise In Augusta

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Augusta, GA -

With all the recent rain the Savannah River keeps rising and it's only going to get worse and more dangerous. The Army Corps of Engineers announced they are releasing water from Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond lakes for the next few weeks.

Officials say the rains caused lake levels to rise, which means they had to open up the flood gates. Down river in Augusta, we are starting to see the effects.

Last month was the wettest June for the city of Augusta. The garden city had a record 10.83 inches of rain last month and it looks like the rain will continue for a while.

"Well, at first it was good, but now I'm starting to really wonder if I live in Seattle, Washington or London, or somewhere else," says Kimberly Willard of Augusta, GA.

"I think that it's wonderful actually because it's been keeping the heat down for this summer and I just think it's an act of God and actually, he's showing a lot of blessings to us," says Brandon Latham of Atlanta, GA.

The large amounts of rain are causing the Savannah River to rise. The Riverwalk Marina is starting to flood in some areas. The boat ramp and most of the parking lot are flooded by the rising river.

"It's kind of crazy. I've never seen it this high before so that's why I wanted to come check it out. Never seen the water this high in the Savannah River," says Ryan O'Neil of Evans, GA.

Although he is selling his home now, Ted Johnson has lived on the Savannah River for 23 years. He says even though the river levels are higher than usual, he isn't worried about flooding.

"Over the 23 years, we have probably experienced water of levels in the range of what we are seeing here about four to five times," says Johnson.

Johnson says the river was at its highest during the Flood of 1990. He says his deck and gazebo were covered by about 3 feet of water. Over the next several weeks, the river could go even higher as the Corp of Engineers will be releasing more water from Thurmond Dam. Engineers will also test the spillway for a couple of hours on Thursday. But Johnson says he doesn't expect flooding near his home.

"I think what they were trying to tell people is don't expect that the river level is going to drop very quick in the next few days. Because now they are going to start doing their release. So we will probably see this high water for, I don't know, a week," says Johnson.

Officials say river velocities are going be much higher than normal over the next several weeks. They are warning boaters and anyone using the river to wear a life jacket at all times. There have also been reports of large debris in the Savannah River.

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