All that rain had to go somewhere.
According to Gulf County Emergency Management director Marshall Nelson a lot of that water is heading into the Apalachicola and Chipola river basins in Gulf County.
At the recommendation of Nelson the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday declared a local state of emergency in anticipation of flooding in the north end of the county as soon as the weekend.
There is already an issue on the north end with roads due to weeks and months of heavy rains.
The timing of upcoming flooding, Nelson said, is unclear, but he asked commissioners to pass the emergency declaration in order to begin preparations.
“Primarily, that will be moving county assets and getting them in place,” Nelson said. “We know that it is coming. We have had a lot of rain in the river basin.”
As of Tuesday, the water at the Woodruff Dam in Blountstown was at 22 feet, meaning that level of water will arrive in the county by the weekend.
“The water has built up and they have opened the gates on us,” Nelson said.
On the Apalachicola, Nelson said, flood stage is 15 feet but the concern arrives with water that reaches 21-23 feet in depth.
At that point, water begins to become an issue on roadways in low-lying areas and around boat landings.
The issues are compounded, Nelson said, by the amount of water that is also entering the Chipola River basin.
“That is our problem,” Nelson said.
Nelson said his office was already working with Public Works on staging of equipment and preparations and said he thought flooding could begin as soon as Sunday or Monday.
“Right now we are trying to get a handle on how much water and the timing,” Nelsobn said. “We are going to start putting things in place and get ready for it.”
Nelson said indications are a flood event similar to that in 2005.
That year flood waters forced the closure of a number of roads in the north end and some residences were inundated with water.
The flooding is likely to be most severe in the areas of Howard Creek, Red Bull Island and similarly low-lying areas on the north end, Nelson said.
Folks in those areas are urged to take precautions.
After a complaint from resident Billy Traylor regarding a March 27 debate among members of the Apalachee Regional Planning Council concerning a loan sought by Traylor’s company, commissioners voted unanimously to replace Bryan as the BOCC representative to the board and replace her with Commissioner Ward McDaniel.
Bryan was also on the losing end of vote to approve a new model for economic development in the county. She sought to clarify some language in the proposal included in the BOCC meeting packet.
McLemore accused her of not doing her homework and said he supported the county attorney who drafted the language.