Levee board lauds teamwork during historic flood

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

GREENVILLE — Some nights during the historic flood of 2011, Warren County Sheriff’s Department deputies caught what little shut-eye they could on the floor of the Eagle Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

On Friday, their hard work was commended at an appreciation luncheon hosted by the Mississippi Board of Levee Commissioners.

“Vicksburg is a long way from Greenville,” said Peter Nimrod, chief engineer of the Mississippi Levee Board. “So, we relied upon the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and the game warden, Tracy Tullos. They took care of us.”

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The flood began in Vicksburg May 1 when the river topped the 43-foot flood stage. It crested May 19 at 57.1 feet, 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927.

Nimrod said Tullos and Warren County deputies patrolled the levee and kept onlookers at bay. He also recalled concerns about the Eagle Lake evacuation.

“Everyone was nervous about looting after the evacuation at Eagle Lake, but the sheriff stationed two deputies there around the clock,” Nimrod said. “We didn’t have to worry about Warren County — it was all taken care of.”

About 80 officials from across the state attended Friday’s luncheon at the Washington County Convention Center. Those from Warren County attending with Sheriff Martin Pace were Lt. Billy Joe Heggins, detective Sam Winchester and deputies Buddy Holliday and Jeff Harrell. Tullos also attended.

“We enjoyed a partnership with the Corps, the levee board, the department of wildlife and Issaquena County that lessened the impact of the flood on the community,” Pace said.

Col. Jeffrey Eckstetin, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Vicksburg District, thanked Nimrod and the levee board.

“It was a tremendous effort coordinated by a dedicated group,” he said. “When you think about how long this event was — most flood events last two or three weeks — the Monday after Easter to mid-August is a long time. It was a tremendous accomplishment.”