Flood warning closes part of Ocmulgee Heritage Trail

Telegraph staff writersFebruary 12, 2013 

Faced with a flood warning, Macon officials closed the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail until flooding recedes from Spring Street to the Otis Redding Memorial Bridge.

Significant runoff from heavy rains over the past several days caused the Ocmulgee River to spill out of its banks with minor flooding of the river walk and Gateway Park, said Don Druitt, director of the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency.

The flood warning has been posted through Sundayday as the river is expected to crest at 21.9 feet by Wednesday evening -- nearly 4 feet above flood stage. The area is expected to stay wet until Monday.

Macon received more than an inch of rain overnight into Wednesday morning

The Ocmulgee crested at about 35 feet during the historic 1994 flooding. A river gauge was swept downstream, so officials could only estimate.

Tuesday morning’s closure of the popular river walk was in anticipation of flood waters covering the trail, city spokesman Chris Floore said. Floore said people are encouraged to follow updates on Twitter through the Macon-Bibb County EMA.

Macon set a new daily rainfall record for Monday with 2.21 inches, which breaks the record of 2.02 set on that date in 1897.

Flooding on the trail typically happens first near the Otis Redding bridge, and the lowest sections of Gateway Park will be under water. No major flooding was expected.

The flood warning covers Bibb, Jones, Houston, Twiggs and Monroe counties.

Residents in low-lying areas or near streams are urged to monitor weather conditions.

Druitt said residents need to heed barricades and to be aware of downed power lines and trees.

A few trees toppled in the wet soil Tuesday morning, but no major road closings were reported.

Saturated soil means additional rains will likely run off and prolong flooding conditions until the region begins to dry out.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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