Corps of Engineers tours Savannah River, assesses flooding damage

Jessye Norman Amphitheater in Augusta (Photo credit: Jesse Lamb)

Jessye Norman Amphitheater in Augusta (Photo credit: Jesse Lamb)

News 12 First at Five / Friday, July 12, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's another day on the dam for engineer Scott Hyatt.

"This is not the same river that we're used to seeing," he said.

On Friday, the water was moving faster and was much higher.

"We saw some high water four years ago. It's really been 10 years since we've seen levels even approaching this, and they still weren't this high," Hyatt said.

Enough of a reason for the facility supervisor to open the floodgates -- all five of them -- which is something that hasn't happened in close to 20 years.

"This is the first time that these property owners are seeing the types of flows that this river is capable of on their property," Hyatt said. "It's not really at the forefront of people's mind."

Now it's got homeowners thinking, how much is too much?

The flooding is bad enough that walking through water was the only way News 12 could get where we needed to be today.

"We're still obviously seeing impacts downstream," he said.

More rain is expected all weekend, which means the river could rise even more.

"Thurmond is getting close to having about 4 feet of flood storage available and that's the only flood storage available on the river," he explained.

With nowhere for the water to go, it's bad news for things downstream.

"Those would be considerably worse if we were in a situation where we had no flood storage available," Hyatt said.

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