BMS to resume classes as minor flood warning issued


Telegraph Editor

Suwannee River Water Management District is predicting minor flooding on the Santa Fe River by this weekend, with one of the areas to be near Worthington Springs.

“This means there is a chance of minor flooding on property near the Santa Fe River,” the district stated.

Additional areas along the river outside of Bradford and Union counties, could see minor flooding next week.

The district noted these predictions are based on current rainfall estimates and could change.

Rainfall over the weekend led to the closure of Bradford Middle School for several days this week. School was expected to be back in session by Thursday morning.

“The water was only in the back half of the main building,” Superintendent Will Hartley said. “The roof on that building is flat and has roof drains. With the amount of water we got in a short time period, the drains couldn’t keep up.”

The backup resulted in leaks, and while they were able to quickly clean the water up, it was important to remove as much moisture as possible. A remediation company was employed, and a two-day process began that involved machines in the hallways and no air conditioning. 

After originally planning to continue classes, had to close the school.

“With that building being the largest on that campus, there just isn’t enough space there to move kids around and have instruction,” Hartley said. 

No other campuses were affected, but families on dirt roads had to get their children to the nearest highway since the roads were too wet for school buses.

Meanwhile police were closing certain streets in Starke because of flooding. Manholes also overflowed because of the excessive rainfall, allowing an estimated 1,000 gallons of untreated wastewater to spill on Water Street and State Road 16, 326-332 Water Street. The sewer plant was at capacity.

If you encounter a flooded roadways such as this, authorities ask you to report them to the dispatch center at 904-966-6161 instead of through social media because those sites may not be monitored 24/7.

Bradford County Emergency Management also offered the following safety tips. 

—Stay informed: Have multiple credible sources to get forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings. Learn what areas and roadways around you are likely to floods. 

—Have a plan: Create a communications plan with your family and have an emergency kit. Plan for evacuations and know alternate routes.

—Don’t walk or drive through flood waters: Turn around, don’t drown. Avoid floodwaters and heed road closure or caution signs. Report flooded roadways to local law enforcement.

Lake levels at Lake Crosby had climbed to 129.22 feet above sea level as of Monday, just slightly higher than it has been since June when it was last at 129 feet. Similarly, Sampson Lake was at 129.93 feet, but that jumped more than a foot since the day before.

The water management district measured 1.69 inches of rainfall at Louis Hill Tower in north Bradford County on Monday. It was 3.9 inches for the prior week. At the New River Tower, Monday rainfall was 0.11 inches and 5.07 inches for the prior week. 

Union Tower reported 0.11 inches on Monday and 4.82 inches for the prior week. At Lake Butler, 0.34 inches were measured Monday and 3.53 inches for the prior week.

The number are provisional until reviewed.