One year later, the flood cleanup continues

Published 2:00 am Sunday, April 29, 2012

One year ago, homeowners in and around Eagle Lake had begun their evacuation as the waters of the Mississippi River rose to unprecedented levels. By May 19, the river reached 57.1 feet, or 14.1 feet above flood stage and nine-tenths of a foot higher than the Great Flood of 1927.

Today, the river is calm. The level recorded Thursday had the river at 19.7 feet. Flooding concerns this spring are nil. Thank goodness for that.

Over the one year since the flooding displaced 3,200 people, communities around Eagle Lake, along North Washington Street and on U.S. 61 North and South, life is getting back to normal. Residents have returned to their homes in most areas. The scars of the flood are mostly limited to property damage, but not the calamity it could have been.

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The recovery, too, has been a testament to hard work by those affected, those who wanted to help neighbors and businesses working in tandem with residents. The response by Vicksburg, Warren County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which kept the levees safe from fail, conjures up images of former Gov. Haley Barbour, who famously said after Hurricane Katrina that Mississippians “hitched up their britches and went to work.”

Warren County residents should feel pride in weathering a natural wonder that could have ended in disaster. The shelters are closed. The assistance centers have moved on to other cities. The county has returned to normalcy.

A quote attributed to Mark Twain declares, “The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise.”

In the future, the river will rise again. Areas in our city and county will flood again. Months of cleanup will follow the water’s recession. And we are confident the people will work together for another nearly seamless recovery.