County declares state of emergency as rivers rise
The Board of County Commissioners during a special meeting Tuesday declared a local state of emergency due to concerns about flooding on the north end.
According to Ben Guthrie from Emergency Management, the Apalachicola River crested near the Blountstown gauge Monday night.
That water will arrive in Wewahitchka by Wednesday night heading into Thursday.
“And we will stay pretty close to that level for four or five days,” Guthrie said.
Guthrie said the Wewahitchka gauge measured 27.07 feet Tuesday, the third-highest marking in written history.
“It has consistently gotten worse,” Guthrie said, adding the highest water has yet to arrive.
The comp from the national weather folks, Guthrie said, was the flooding of 2015 and the Apalachicola River is expected to crest at 27.5.
Guthrie said any low-lying area is likely to be impacted by the flooding.
There are already or will be by the time this hits the newsstands checkpoints along Lake Grove Road and Byrd Parker Road had already been closed Tuesday.
Red Bull Island is effectively underwater, Guthrie said, and Howard Creek Road will soon begin to have water coming over the roadway.
Gaskin Landing was, as of Tuesday, “already very deep,” Guthrie said.
County Public Works will stage water pallets at the Howard Creek, Dalkeith and Wewahitchka fire departments, said director Mark Cothran.
Sand bags are available in Wewahitchka and will ultimately be made available at all three fire departments, Cothran added.
In addition, Wewahitchka Search and Rescue is evacuating some people from low-lying areas and Guthrie said those in impacted areas were urged to prepare or leave.
The flooding is the result of a combination of factors, including rains to the north and already teeming river basins.
In addition, there is a distinct hydrologic process at work, Guthrie explained.
The Apalachicola River is full of rains that fell primarily in Georgia.
The same weather system also dropped feet of rain in Alabama and that rain fills the Chipola River.
When both are running high, as they are currently, the Apalachicola River acts as something of a dam on the Chipola, which subsequently backs up.
That exacerbates flooding conditions and the Chipola will remain backed-up until the Apalachicola River begins to lower.
Sarah Hinds, administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Gulf and Franklin County, said there continues to be no case of coronavirus either county.
The state Department of Health has issued a travel advisory to virus hot spots around the globe and continued to emphasize prevention.
That, more than anything, focuses on proper hand-washing with soap and warm water, scrubbing the entire hands long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, and using a paper towel to dry hands.
As of Tuesday, these are the COVID-19 testing results, according to the FDOH:
There are 18 cases in Florida across 12 counties.
Of those 12 were diagnosed in Florida, give diagnosed in another state and is isolated and one confirmed positive of a non-Florida also isolated in Florida.
There are 115 tests pending, 140 negatives and 1,104 people have been monitored to date, 302 currently.
The FDOH is also encouraging people to adhere to new CDC guidelines regarding travel.
Level 3: Mandatory 14-day self-isolation and practice social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.
Level 2 and Cruises: Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your county health department or health care provider.
In addition, Hinds said individuals should find updates and more information at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html