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Vicksburg District provides updated forecast for region

Published Jan. 15, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District provided the following updated forecast Jan. 15:

The lower Mississippi River received an average of two-to-four inches of rain in the Yazoo and Pearl River basins, with some areas receiving up to eight inches, from Jan. 13-14.

According to National Weather Service forecasts, the lower Mississippi River Valley is expected to receive less than one inch of additional rainfall over the next seven days. The NWS is predicting the Mississippi River to crest at 38 feet at Arkansas City, Arkansas; 49.5 feet at Greenville, Mississippi; 44.6 feet at Vicksburg, Mississippi; and 51.4 feet at Natchez, Mississippi, during the last week of January. These projected crests were produced using two days of forecasted rainfall in the region. Forecasts will likely change pending future rainfall.

Conditions required the Steele Bayou Control Structure’s gates to be closed Jan. 14. The structure, which was built in 1969, combined with the Mississippi River and Yazoo Backwater levees, prevents the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers from backing up and further flooding the Delta. Pending future rainfall, the Steele Bayou Control Structure will most likely remain closed until the first week of February. The Yazoo Backwater area is now predicted to reach 91-92 feet in early February due to predicted rainfall in the region and an elevated Mississippi River.

Across the Yazoo Basin, the district’s four flood control reservoirs – Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes – are releasing water to regain additional storage capacity.

The district activated its Emergency Operations Center to “emergency watch” status Jan. 14 due to forecasted high water on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. During emergency watch, district personnel and their local partners monitor the conditions of all federal flood control works, including levees, flood walls and pumping stations. They also monitor rainfall amounts in affected areas and use National Weather Service data to determine if weather conditions warrant further action.

The district will continue monitoring the forecast and the condition of its flood control works to determine if further activation of its emergency response efforts will be required. As of Jan. 15, the district has observed no significant sand boils or seepage at flood control sites.

Citizens are encouraged to contact their local authorities and management officials for updates about conditions in their area. Additionally, citizens should avoid activities on or near flood control works.

The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.


Reagan Lauritzen

Release no. 20-007