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

Published June 1, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District closed the gates of the Steele Bayou Control Structure, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and provided an update on forecasts and conditions across the district’s jurisdiction June 1.

Rising stages on the Mississippi River have created conditions that require the Steele Bayou Control Structure’s gates to be closed. 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.

The gates of the structure are expected to remain closed for up to 14 days, depending on future rainfall. The current interior stage of the Yazoo Backwater Area is approximately 91 feet and will remain steady while the structure’s gates are closed.

The National Weather Service has forecasted an average of 0.1-1 inches of rainfall over the Lower Mississippi River Valley over the next seven days. The Mississippi River is expected to crest at Arkansas City, Arkansas, at 37 feet June 5; Greenville, Mississippi, at 48 feet June 6; Vicksburg, Mississippi, at 44.5 feet June 7; and Natchez, Mississippi, at 52 feet June 8. 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, Enid, Grenada and Sardis lakes in north Mississippi remain open to release excess rainfall, or runoff, and to regain storage capacity.

The district’s three flood control reservoirs in Arkansas – Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake – are releasing runoff and have 82-100% of their flood control storage capacity available.

Stages on the Red River at Shreveport, Louisiana, are currently falling. National Weather Service forecasts indicate that the Red River at Alexandria, Louisiana, will crest today at 27.5 feet before beginning to fall. The Ouachita River at Monroe, Louisiana, is currently at 31.3 feet and is slowly falling.

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. 20-044