Flooding down the river in Burke County impacting homes


GIRARD, Ga. (WJBF) – One Burke County community had to park their cars and fire up their boats to get home due to the Savannah River flooding. With more rainfall expected this week, the problems will get more than worse and they could be disastrous.

Many people have already left the Stoney Bluff South Community. Water now covers a large portion of the entrance road.

“If it wasn’t under water you could drive down the road,” said Tina Lowery, who lives along the river.

She can’t get home except by boat.

She and her husband live in the Stoney Bluff South community with at least a dozen others. All of the homes along the Savannah River are threatened by flood waters.

Lowery and her husband, who took NewsChannel 6 by their home on a boat, said they have been watching the rainfall.

“We’ve been keeping track of it. We keep track of it every day. We live down river so we come down here. It started rising about three or four days ago,” Lowery said.

The Army Corps of Engineers reported at 8:00 a.m. Monday that the Thurmond Lake level was at 333 feet above mean sea level. That is 3 feet into flood stage. If an additional 2 feet of water accumulates in the lake, the 23 flood gates on the dam could be opened. Only time and rain will tell.

Paved roads are completely water covered. Homes have diminishing stairs, boat docks and anything in what was once the front yard.

Lowery added, “Our houses are on stilts. The lower parts of the houses are under water, but the houses are not under water. Everything that we have down there has been destroyed.”

Lowery said this isn’t anything new. Flooding happened last year and back in 2015. As the Army Corps of Engineers decides whether to release the flood gates, it could be detrimental to Stoney Bluff South.

“Augusta we have been lucky because they’ve been maintaining, but unfortunately, to keep Augusta safe they end up pushing more water downstream and it’s really starting to hurt some folks downstream,” said Tonya Bonitatibus, Savannah Riverkeeper.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps

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