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Floodwaters rise in Camden County
Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby were expected to crest along the St. Marys River in Camden County on Monday, threatening homes in low-lying areas about 5 miles west of Kingsland.

Camden County Emergency Management Agency director Mark Crews said four homes near Browntown, an unincorporated area between Kingsland and Folkston, were flooded Monday as waters continued to rise. Spring Hill Court, the only road leading to the homes, was flooded, cutting off all access except by boat.

Crews issued an evacuation order over the weekend affecting 45 homes, and county officials were prepared to open an emergency shelter, but nobody accepted the offer. Those who left their homes are staying with friends or at local motels.

"I was trying to get people to think about safety," he said. "I told them we have no way to get an ambulance to them."

Ga. 40, the only highway between Kingsland and Folkston, remained closed Monday near the Charlton County line because of flooding. Motorists traveling between Kingsland to Folkston had to drive on Ga. 110 through Woodbine, 11 miles north of Kingsland.

Crews said floodwaters were expected to crest Monday during high tide before they start falling. No problems were expected farther east along the river because it gets considerably wider and is buffered by marshes.

While Camden County is under a local emergency declaration, Crews is uncertain if the state will declare flooded areas in Camden and Charlton counties a disaster area.

The problem, Crews said, is rain from Tropical Storm Debby fell a week ago, but it typically takes close to a week after a large rain event for flood waters to work their way down the 140-mile-long St. Marys River from its headwaters at the Okefenokee Swamp.

"Most people (in Atlanta) have already forgotten about Tropical Storm Debby," he said. "It's a regional event that takes about a week before we are impacted. My challenge is to keep state agencies and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency focused on this."

Crews said it would help if a river gauge were set up at the U.S. 1 bridge near the Camden-Charlton county border. A gauge that close to the county line would help Camden officials better predict how high waters will rise after a major rain event.

So far, the only reported injury in Camden County was a man who stepped on a venomous snake and was taken to Gainesville, Fla., for medical treatment, Crews said.

It's uncertain how many residents in damaged homes have flood insurance or if they will qualify for government assistance once damage is assessed, Crews said.

"Once we can get back there, we'll see," he said. "I don't even know if this qualifies."

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