Vicksburg, Miss… While the forecasted stages for the Mississippi River are relatively low compared to the Great Flood of 2011, stages are predicted to reach Phase I flood fight preparation levels in much of the District.
The current forecast is for the river to crest at 45 feet on July 17 on the Vicksburg gauge. It is somewhat unusual for the river to be this high this time of year. In fact, it was 1928 the last time the Vicksburg gauge was higher than the current forecasted crest in the month of July. But in comparison, this crest is still over 12’ lower than it was during the spring flood of 2011. The river reached a crest of 43 feet on the Vicksburg gauge in April this year.
During Phase I activities, Vicksburg District personnel deploy to the field to inspect and monitor federal flood control works including levees, flood walls, and pumping stations in support of levee boards and local and state officials. Corps personnel coordinate closely with city, county and state agencies in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Preparations are made to increase the level of response if a continued rise in river stages is forecast that would push operations into a Phase II level of activity. Current forecasts have not reached Phase II levels within the Vicksburg District at this time.
Another area being monitored is the Yazoo Backwater area. Due to the high river stages, the Steele Bayou Structure gates have been closed to prevent water backing up Steele Bayou due to the high Mississippi River stages and flooding the south Delta. The gates are expected to be closed for the month of July and will reopen when stages on the river have fallen below the land side elevation. The land side of Steele Bayou Structure is currently at 86.7 feet while the river side will be approximately 6’ higher by late next week as the river crests. If the area receives normal rainfall for the remainder of July, stages on the land side of Steele Bayou could reach 89-90’.
Mississippi Rivers and Tributaries Project flood protection works in the Lower Mississippi Valley protect many thousands of homes and businesses, millions of lives, and vast tracts of fertile cropland.
Release no. 15-045