River’s crest lowered to 52.5 feet at Vicksburg

Published 11:35 am Monday, January 4, 2016

The National Weather Service has lowered the expected crest level of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg to 52.5 feet on Jan. 15.

Emergency Management Director John Elfer told Warren County supervisors Monday morning that experts have moved the date of the river’s crest up a day, from Jan. 16 to Jan. 15.

Later Monday, Elfer received word the expected crest of the river has been revised to 52.5. Flood stage at Vicksburg is 43 feet.

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In the record flood of 2011, the river level at Vicksburg reached 57 feet.

The board of supervisors at its meeting Monday approved a joint resolution with the city of Vicksburg, declaring a state of flood emergency.

“We are working with the city and all response agencies to make sure all get what they need during the flood,” Elfer said.

Elfer is meeting at 2 p.m. each day to inform all agencies involved about river conditions and to handle any issues that could arise because of the flood.

Monday morning, the Mississippi River at Vicksburg had reached 43 feet, which is its flood stage.

After the supervisors’ meeting, Elfer said the main line levee in the Chotard area is ready for travel. However, it will not be opened until MDOT closes Mississippi 465.

“They are going to try to keep 465 open as long as they can. The main line levee won’t be used as a route until 465 closes,” Elfer said.

The joint resolution asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for help protecting the Old Depot Museum in the city and the U.S. 61 elevated railroad bed in south Warren County.

“That is primarily to protect those subdivisions and U.S. 61 south,” Elfer said. However, he said the river would have to rise to 55 feet before reaching U.S. 61.

“The joint declaration primarily relieves us from certain purchasing requirements and makes it easier for us to get some of the things we will need in an emergency that would normally have to be bid,” Elfer said.

Wayne Mansfield, executive director of the Warren County Port Commission, said he has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the city auditorium for businesses and industries located along the river and those that will otherwise be affected by the flood and a variety of state agencies that potentially provide assistance to those businesses and industries.

“We are trying to be proactive in an attempt to mitigate any negative impact from the experience,” Mansfield said.

In other business, the supervisors:

• appointed District 5 supervisor Richard George president of the board of supervisors and John Arnold, who represents District 1, vice president. Supervisors also welcomed John Carlisle, who was elected in November to represent the county’s Distrit 4 and replace Bill Lauderdale, who did not seek another term.

• reappointed county administrator John Smith, board attorney Blake Teller, road manager Buddy Poole, county engineer John McKee and engineering firm Stantec Engineering.

• approved Trustmark and Bancorp as depositories for county funds.

• approved the observance of the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a state holiday on Monday, Jan. 18.

• set the board’s next meeting for Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m.