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Vicksburg District opens Steele Bayou Control Structure, provides update on forecasts, conditions across region

Published April 20, 2020
Yazoo Backwater Area Water Management Update

A graphic of conditions in the Yazoo Backwater Area in Mississippi generated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District's Water Management section April 20. The district's Water Management section provides regularly updated river basin reports at the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xv3M2

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District opened the Steele Bayou Control Structure, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 20.

Due to high stages on the Mississippi River, the Steele Bayou Control Structure’s gates have been closed since March 30. The Steele Bayou Control 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. Based on seven days of forecasted rainfall, the Yazoo Backwater Area is forecasted to crest today around 96.5-97 feet.

The National Weather Service has forecasted an average of 1.25-3 inches of rainfall over the Lower Mississippi River Valley over the next seven days. As of 7 p.m. April 20, the Mississippi River is 38.8 feet at Arkansas City, Arkansas; 50.7 feet at Greenville, Mississippi; 48.7 feet at Vicksburg, Mississippi; and 56.6 feet at Natchez, Mississippi. The river is beginning to fall at each of these locations. These predictions are based on two days of forecasted rainfall and may change based on future rainfall.

The gates of the flood control structures at Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes in north Mississippi remain open to release excess rainfall, or runoff, and to regain storage capacity. Flows at Grenada Lake are expected to enter the project’s spillway within the week. Additional information is available at the following link: https://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/2157442/vicksburg-district-announces-grenada-lake-to-enter-spillway-within-week/

The Vicksburg District’s three flood control reservoirs in Arkansas – Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake – are releasing runoff and have 100% of their flood control storage capacity available.

The Red River at Alexandria, Louisiana, is expected to crest at 27.4 feet April 21. After that crest, all stages on the Red River are expected to fall. Old River Lock will remain closed until Red River Landing recedes below 60.5 feet, and the lock is expected to open early next week. According to the latest National Weather Service forecast, the Ouachita River at Monroe, Louisiana, will remain around 39 feet for the remainder of the week.

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.

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. 20-038