Big Muddy may rise a bit more during crests

Published 2:16 am Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Mississippi River has reached forecast crests in the Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez areas amid National Weather Service warnings that waters may rise a few extra inches over the next two to three days.

The river crested at 52.9 feet at Greenville on Monday, nearly 5 feet above flood stage; and stood near crest 47.4 feet at Vicksburg, 4.4 feet above flood stage; and 54 feet at Natchez, 6 feet above flood stage. The river was expected to crest in Natchez on Tuesday at 54.1 feet.

The river may creep up another inch or two, said Kai Roth, hydrologist with the Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center in Slidell, La.

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“We have it coming up another tenth or so, holding flat for three days and then slowing falling thereafter,” Roth said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it crept up another tenth or two after that just because of how much water is moving through there, but with this flat crest people aren’t going to see much change over the next three to four days.”

At Greenville, Roth said the river was expected to hold at 52.9 feet for the next two days.

Mississippi 465 into the Eagle Lake community closed Sunday, with local traffic only routed over the Yazoo Backwater Levee. Water has risen into some of the homes, and Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said extra deputies will patrol until the water goes down and the highway is reopened.

Water continues to rise inside the levee-locked Yazoo Backwater Area off U.S. Highway 61 North. The water accumulates on the land side of the levee during floods and can’t be released until the Mississippi falls. Spring flooding, when it occurs, is usually over and done with by mid-May.

Robert Simrall, U.S Army Corps of Engineers chief of water control, said readings at 3 p.m Sunday showed the land side at 92.8 feet, up a tenth over Saturday’s level. On the river side, the water was at 95.9, up two-tenths from Saturday.

Additional rain forecast for the next five days will raise land side levels, Simrall said.

Original corps estimates had the land side stage reaching 92.5 feet at the end of the month.

The National Weather Service was forecasting more rain through the week, with possible five-day accumulations of an inch to 1.5 inches.