2 inches of rain flash floods parts of area|[05/29/08]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 29, 2008

Heavy rains Wednesday caused Vicksburg, Warren County and neighboring areas to experience flash flooding, but no injuries or long-term effects were felt here, said city public works director James “Bubba” Rainer.

“The creeks filled up real quick, and backed up into the drains,” he said. “Nobody reported any problems.”

Some areas received as much as 5 inches, according to radar data, said Marty Pope, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Jackson. Groundfall data collected north and south of Vicksburg, which includes rainfall amounts collected by the city’s water treatment plant, reported about 2 inches, he said, adding that the heaviest rainfall was reported between 9:30 and 11 a.m.

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“It was a very isolated type of storm,” Pope said.

Once the rain stopped, Rainer said, water collecting in streets didn’t have a problem draining. In one area along Drummond Street, the heavy rain caused manhole covers to pop off, but city workers were able to repair them after the rain stopped.

Ten calls to E-911 gave reports of water over city streets, including both sides of Clay Street; Mulberry, Locust, Yerger, Speed and Letitia streets; two portions of Halls Ferry Road and Melrose, said Gwen Coleman, director of Warren County Emergency Management.

County roads reportedly taking on water were Paxton, Ridgewood and Stinson, she said.

The biggest problem city workers encountered during the storm, Rainer said, was at the City Front floodwall, where valves are still in place from March and April Mississippi River flooding. Flood stage at Vicksburg is 43 feet and Wednesday’s stage was recorded to be at 41.6 feet.

“The river’s down, but we can’t open the valves until the (river stage) goes below 40 feet,” he said. “We had to pump all the water out, and we lost power at one of the stations.”

Don Arnold, a spokesman for Entergy, said about 85 customers lost power after the storm due to trees washing out and falling on power lines. The outages, which began at 3 p.m., were scattered across the area. All electricity was reconnected by midnight, Arnold said.

Stalled vehicles were also reported across the county as a result of the heavy rainfall, Coleman said. Horizon Casino’s parking lot also took on water, but no reports of water seeping in houses were made, she added.

In Yazoo County, officials reported about 7 inches of rain, the “worst rainfall” recorded across the state, Pope said. The heavy rain caused a small levee to break in the northern part of the county and motorists across the area had difficulty driving on 35 city streets. Damage was reported to about 25 homes, some of which caused several residents and children at a daycare center to be trapped, according to reports. No injuries were reported. Heavy rain also fell between Ridgeland and Canton, Pope said, dousing the area with 4 to 5 inches.