Jackson mayor urges residents to ‘get out now’ as Mississippi braces for river flooding after record rainfall

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The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, is urging locals to “get out now” after the state was ravaged by record rains and the Pearl River swelled to devastating levels.

“If you are able to get out now, get out now,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a news conference Saturday morning.

He said it is possible that 100 to 150 homes could be affected by flooding from the Pearl River and warned locals to move to higher elevations or seek shelters in the city.

“Get outside as soon as possible to avoid any incident or challenge with people trying to leave the area at once or any concerns about whether the river is earlier than expected or our projection,” he added.

Police officers observe the release of water from the Ross Barnett Reservoir Spillway on the Pearl River, in Rankin County, Miss., on Sunday.Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves stated a state of emergency saturday in anticipation of the flooding of the Pearl River. It was forecast for Monday morning at 35.5 feet7 feet above the flood stage, the National Weather Service office in Jackson said.

Monday at 9 a.m., the weather service said the river is expected to “stay stable” at nearly 35.37 feet, just below the level of the major flood stage of 36 feet, and then slowly decline toward evening.

The state has deployed 126,000 sandbags and search and rescue teams are standing by to respond to requests from local emergency managers. Drones are also in the air to assess the water levels along the Pearl River.

Mississippi has been struggling with flash floods since Aug. 22. So far, 42 homes, nine businesses, five ranches and 43 public roads have been reported damaged, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said in its initial assessment.

Flooding at the Peach Tree Village nursing home in Brandon, Miss., after a morning of torrential rain on August 24, 2022.
Flooding at the Peach Tree Village nursing home in Brandon, Miss., after a morning of torrential rain on August 24, 2022. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Some areas received 14 inches of rain in the span of 72 hours as the state saw record rains, the agency said. A person in Wilkinson County was injured in the storm, but the flooding is far from over.

Rain moving through the Jackson area may be Monday, further affecting the already saturated soil.

City officials warned of the Pearl River flooding Friday, saying the Ross R. Barnett Reservoir would have to release water to relieve pressure on the dam. The 33,000-acre lake provides water for Jackson.

The Barnett Reservoir inflow topped out on Sunday, standing at 298.63 feet above mean sea level. The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District said the lake was draining water at 60,000 cubic feet per second for at least 24 hours to lower water levels. Later on Monday, the district said it lowered the discharge to 45,000 cubic feet per second and will reduce the flow in the coming days.

“Residents of low-lying areas must remain vigilant and prepared. This high water event is expected to last 7 to 10 days,” the waterworks district said.

Some schools will switch to virtual learning Monday and Tuesday due to “sustained low water pressure” and the threat of flooding from the Pearl River, Jackson Public Schools said.

The storm comes two years after Mississippi experienced unprecedented flooding in February 2020 that hit hundreds of homes.

Erin McGarry contributed.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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