Recent rains continue to leave an impact on area rivers and lakes. We went back out to the Jessye Norman Amphitheater Monday where the waters continue to cover the lower level. It remains closed as the Savannah River continues to overflow its banks all the way to the first row of seats at that popular venue.
You'll remember, thousands of gallons of water were released from the Savannah River at Strom Thurmond Dam a few days ago. Lake Thurmond was pushed to full pool last week due to the rain and a potential for flooding was created.
We talked to one Augusta business owner on Monday, about the river's effects.
Broadway Tackle in Augusta has gotten its share of fair weather over the years. “The river used to flood every winter. It would get almost like this, but not quite as bad,” says Broadway Tackle's owner, Larry Lesser.
This year's flooding and high water have washed away a lot of business for one of the area's most known bait and tackle shops.
“There's a lot more water. The fish are not on their normal summertime pattern and a lot of the fishermen are having trouble finding the fish now,” Lesser says.
Due to the high water and its possible danger to swimmers and boaters…Lesser's popular kayak rental service has been docked. “Kayaking is non-existent right now due to safety. We've actually given refunds to some groups, so business is down because of it,” Lesser says.
Augusta isn't the only area being flooded with problems. The Aiken County Boat Ramp in Jackson, South Carolina is under water and the road leading to it is now a swamp, buried by roughly six feet of Savannah River.
Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus is documenting and charting the river's rise. She says flooding now is only paving the way for bigger problems later, “There's gonna be a lot of damage at the boat landing…trying to put that back together. This is a really active spot for folks to access the river. Unfortunately, it's not just here. I've heard from folks all the way to Blue Springs, which is outside Sylvania, Georgia…where we've got houses under water,” she says.
Despite the rising river's affects on the flow of customers…Larry Lesser says it won't wash away his business. “I think we'll be in business another 35 years,” he says.
There have been a couple of local events affected by the rising river. The Augusta Southern Nationals drag boat races, scheduled for this weekend, have been cancelled. Also, the popular Paddlefest event, scheduled for August, has been postponed.