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Vicksburg District provides update on forecasts, conditions, flood fight operations across region – March 24

Published March 24, 2020

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District provided an update on forecasts, conditions and flood fight operations across the district’s jurisdiction March 24.

The National Weather Service has forecasted an average of one-half-to-one inch of daily rainfall across the Lower Mississippi River Valley for the next week. Due to local rainfall, the Mississippi River within the district’s jurisdiction is expected to rise slowly and steadily over the next two weeks. The Mississippi River is expected to crest at Arkansas City, Arkansas, at 40 feet April 4; Greenville, Mississippi, at 51.5 feet April 4; Vicksburg, Mississippi, at 48 feet April 6; and Natchez, Mississippi, at 55 feet April 7. These predictions are based on two days of forecasted rainfall and may change based on future rainfall.

Due to local rainfall, the Yazoo Backwater level is expected to remain steady throughout the week before beginning to slowly rise. The gates of the Steele Bayou Control Structure, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, and the gates of the Little Sunflower Control Structure, located approximately eight miles east of Valley Park, remain open. However, based on current river forecasts, the gates of the Steele Bayou Control Structure are expected to close within the next 10 days.

The gates of the flood control structures at Arkabutla and Sardis lakes, two of the district’s four flood control reservoirs in north Mississippi, are currently open and releasing excess rainfall, or runoff, and their pools are nearing their respective summer pool elevations. The gates of the flood control structures at Enid and Grenada lakes were closed March 20 and 23, respectively, due to heavy local rainfall. The gates of both structures are expected to open within the next two-to-three days.

The gates of the flood control structures at Lake Ouachita, DeGray Lake and Lake Greeson in Arkansas are currently open and releasing water. Each of these lakes has more than 90% of its flood control storage available.

The Red River at Shreveport, Louisiana, crested at 29.4 feet March 23. According to National Weather Service forecasts, the Ouachita River at Monroe, Louisiana, is expected to crest between 39-40 feet in the first week of April.

District personnel and their local partners will continue to monitor the conditions of flood control works, including levees, flood walls and pumping stations across the entirety of the district’s jurisdiction.

“While safety remains our top priority, executing functions such as maintaining reliable navigation on our nation’s waterways and flood fighting across the region remains critical,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “We are working with the relevant district offices to continue those missions as safely as possible and to develop contingency to address challenges identified with COVID-19.”

For the safety of the public as well as district personnel, the district has temporarily closed visitor centers, interpretive centers, field offices and select recreation site attractions, including campgrounds and beaches, across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. Additional information about these closures is available at the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xdJuV

The public is encouraged to contact local authorities and management officials for updates about conditions in their area and should avoid activities on or near flood control works.

The Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The 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 Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.


Jessica Dulaney

Release no. 20-027