“No go” for recovery operations today

A small crew worked yesterday on the recovery of Thomas Hill, a resident of Tampa, Fla., from the Chattooga River. However, water levels on the river were still too high for a full operation that includes in-water or on-water operations on the river itself. The Incident Command Team just made a decision to temporarily suspend full operations for a fourth day today because of weather, flows and crew safety. “There is some pretty violent water, as well as some pretty big log jams and lots of other debris in the river,” said Oconee County Emergency Management Director Scott Krein. “We weren’t even able to hike a crew in because the rain simply never slowed down. We did send a boat that went up as far as Lake Rapid in case increased flows had freed Mr. Hill’s body, but unfortunately we didn’t find anything.” NOAA’s National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rain and thunderstorms over the area again. “The National Weather Service shows that the area where we’ve been working is under a flash flood watch until 8 p.m. tomorrow,” said Krein. “As much as we want to get out there and bring Mr. Hill home, there’s no way we can put our crews safely in or on the water right now.”