Some areas of Mississippi can still expect flooding, particularly along the Pearl, Big Black and Pascagoula rivers, even though the bulk of the heavy rains that have plagued the state for the last week has subsided.
Thomas Winesett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, said although the Pearl and other rivers in Mississippi are expected to crest above flood stage, little to no impact to homes and other structures is expected.
“There will be some flooding impact on the Pearl downstream,” Winesett said. “There’s going to be a lot of agricultural and low-lying land getting impacted.”
On Saturday, Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency ahead of anticipated flooding.
Previous coverageJackson Prep’s fields begin to flood early Saturday
The Pearl River is expected to crest sooner and lower than expected in the Jackson area, below the 26-foot barrier that would indicate widespread local damage.
“We’re looking at cresting overnight, which makes it particularly dangerous for folks if they wait until the last minute to evacuate,” said John Brown, spokesman for the American Red Cross in Jackson.
Many of the areas where the rivers are at or above flood stage remain under a flood warning into early September. Some areas will remain under a flood warning until further notice, weather service officials reported.
Monticello, to the south of Jackson, is one of the areas that is expected to crest well above flood stage, but is not expected to cause flooding to homes and other structures, Winesett said. The river should crest around 28 feet mid week.
“There are a few roads and parks that might have some water on them,” he said. “We tend to not see water getting into homes until closer to 30-30⅟₂ feet.”
Even though homes aren’t expected to flood in that area, emergency officials are keeping a close watch and warning residents in low-lying areas to evacuate ahead of the Pearl River cresting because roads may be underwater.
“We’re trying to get messages out to residents to prepare,” Brown said. “While there are no mandatory evacuations, people need to get their personal evacuation kits together and be prepared that their homes can be inaccessible for days.”
Brown said evacuation ahead of time could prevent residents from having to seek water rescues if trapped inside their homes.
“We have to work with other agencies to get resources to folks (who are trapped),” Brown said.
He said the flood stage at Columbia is manageable at present and is not as likely as Monticello to need emergency operations assistance.
“Monticello can be in the crosshairs, but we have seen some positives signs with the water release (at Ross Barnett Reservoir) and how the weather is cooperating somewhat — we don’t think it will contribute to additional flooding,” Brown said.
At the same time, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center are keeping watch over four tropical developments in the Atlantic arena, including one in the northwest Caribbean Sea. One, in the Atlantic Ocean, has a 70% possibility of developing into a tropical depression or a named storm in the next five days.
The development in the northwest Caribbean is the one to watch, Winesett said, although the National Hurricane Center predicts a roughly 20% chance of developing in the next five days.
“It doesn’t look very impressive right now,” Winesett said. “If anything develops with that wave, it would probably stay west of us. With that being said, there could be some tropical moisture returning back to the area by Labor Day weekend. We’re still about a week out, so it’s something we’re keeping an eye on.”
There have been three named storms so far this year in 2022. The most recent was Tropical Storm Colin, which developed off the Carolinas’ coast during the Fourth of July weekend.
The Pearl River:
∎ Near Carthage reached flood stage of 17 feet on Wednesday and crested at nearly 24 feet Thursday. The river remained above flood stage Sunday afternoon at 21⅟₂ but is expected to return to below flood level by Tuesday evening.
∎ At Rockport reached flood stage of 25 feet on Wednesday. It is expected to crest at just under 35 feet on Tuesday.
∎ At Monticello rose above the 22-foot flood stage on Thursday. As of Sunday, the river was at 26 feet. The Pearl is expected to crest at 28 feet on Wednesday.
∎ At Columbia reached flood stage at 17 feet Sunday afternoon and is expected to crest Friday morning at 21⅟₂ feet.
The Big Black River:
∎ At Bentonia crested at just over 28 feet on Friday. Flood stage at Bentonia is 22 feet.
∎ At Bovina was at 35 feet Sunday afternoon — 7 feet above flood stage of 28 feet. It is expected to crest at 37⅟₂ feet Monday afternoon and remain at that level into Tuesday evening.
The Pascagoula River:
∎ At Merrill is expected to crest at 23⅟₂ feet Monday morning. Flood stage at Merrill is 22 feet.
∎ At Graham Ferry is expected to crest at nearly 16⅟₂ feet Monday evening, just above flood stage at 16 feet.
Motorists are advised to take safety precautions while on the road and avoid barricaded areas and areas of standing water.