UPDATE: Heavy rain causes sinkholes in Amerson River Park in Macon

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Heavy rain has caused several sinkholes to form in Amerson River Park. 

Macon-Bibb County’s Emergency Management Agency is now looking for more sinkholes. The rain along with flooding from the Ocmulgee River caused the sinkholes ranging from small to large and deep ones. 

Director Spencer Hawkins says rising river levels are a concern. 

"We’re continuing to monitor with what we’re seeing and because we had the severe flooding last week, we’re going to see some changes this week. We’re continuing to monitor and watch. Yes, we’re concerned, but we’re ready for it," he said. 

The county says if it doesn’t rain for the next few days, crews will have assess the area for more possible sinkholes and fill the current ones with dirt. 

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – New forecasts show the Ocmulgee River reaching 25 feet by Saturday afternoon.

The river was at about 21 feet Wednesday. Previous models showed the river hitting 21 feet by the end of the week. Macon-Bibb EMA Director Spencer Hawkins said the forecasts are changing so often because of a large storm system moving toward the area.

"It’s causing a lot of instability in the weather patterns and because of that instability and because of the new storm cell approaching, it’s changing the forecast on an hourly basis," said Hawkins.

Hawkins said we should see the worst of the rain’s impact by Saturday afternoon. Amerson River Park and the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail remain closed. 

River levels are going down in Macon-Bibb County. Flooding has lowered significantly at the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and Amerson River Park, but both will stay closed for the next few days.

The Ocmulgee River reached almost 28 feet at its peak over the weekend. Tuesday, the county saw levels around 21 feet. Even though more rain is coming over the next few days, Macon-Bibb EMA doesn’t expect it to have a huge impact on river levels. 

"The river itself has gone down about two and a half feet," said Sam Kitchens, the Assistant Director for Macon-Bibb Parks and Beautification.

Parts of Amerson River Park were completely under water this weekend.

"Where we’re standing right now, probably five feet under water. On the flag pole we’ve got some markings on it where you can see the highest point of the river," explained Kitchens.

A sink hole has opened up near the canoe take out location inside Amerson River Park. The lower parking lot next to the canoe take out is still completely underwater.

Once water levels return to normal, the county will start cleaning up the parks. 

"There’s probably an inch and a half of silt that’s come in from the river and we’ll need to bring in small equipment to scrape as much as we can up," explained Kitchens.

More rain is expected to move into Middle Georgia throughout the week. 

"The river levels are not going to rise to what we saw previously," said Macon-Bibb’s EMA Director Spencer Hawkins.

Macon-Bibb will stay under flood watch until Friday. EMA wants people to know it’s dangerous to drive in a flood. EMA shared the National Weather Service’s ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown,’ PSA video on its Facebook page. 

"Even though when the road is there, it may be only five or six inches, that road may not be there anymore. The pavement could have been washed away, the dirt and earth underneath could be washed away and that six inches could go to two or three feet," explained Hawkins. 

Hawkins said it only takes about 12 inches of rain to float a car.

"Water is extremely powerful in the fact that it continually moves. It’s always in s constant state of flow. It will move around and through whatever is in front of it," said Hawkins. 

He explained the worst may be over for this flood, but lots of precipitation is common during an El Nino period.

"Whether that’s rain, whether that’s snow, whether that’s sleet, we are going to see increased precipitation throughout the entire winter months. This probably won’t be the last time that we’re going to be dealing with lots of rain," said Hawkins.

The latest National Weather Service forecast map has Macon-Bibb getting about 2.46 inches of rain from now until Friday. It was projecting .86 inches Tuesday morning. Hawkins said this increase will impact water levels, but it’s unlikely the river will reach its peak height from over the weekend. Hawkins said the last river level projections showed the river reaching about 21 feet toward the end of the week with the expected rainfall.