Mississippi River expected to reach 48 feet in Vicksburg March 3

Published 8:09 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Heavy rain in the upper Mississippi River and Ohio River basins have contributed to a rise in the Mississippi at Vicksburg that will reach above flood stage by Saturday.

According to the National Weather Service river forecast, the Mississippi is expected to reach 43.3 feet Saturday. It is projected to reach 48 feet March 3.

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Marty Pope, hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Jackson, said “5 to 8-plus” inches of rain have fallen in an area from northeast Arkansas into Cairo, Illinois, and into the Cumberland River Basin and another 4 to 5 inches of rain, he said, has fallen in the upper Ohio River Valley have contributed to the rise.

“Most of the rain has come over the last 7 to 8 days,” he said, adding there is a possibility the situation may improve.

Pope said models indicate heavier rainfall over the next 16 days is expected to be further east and southeast of the Mississippi River Basin.

“There will still be some (rain) over the basin, but it won’t be what we’ve seen,” he said.

Also, he said, the predicted crest at Cairo has been reduced from 53.5 feet to 53.

“They are going to hold everything steady down below at Vicksburg for today, but there is potential. If we continue to see this (weather) trend, we could see some lowering at Vicksburg, so right now, that’s a good sign.”

Part of the reason, Pope said, is potential adjustments at the Barkley/Kentucky Dam on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, which are used for flood control.

“And as long as they have operating room they will try to keep that crest as low as they can,” he said.

“If they can work things out coming out of the flood control reservoirs in the western part of Kentucky, and get those balanced right, they can actually maybe knock off the crest. We’ve got 15 days before the crest, and any thing can happen, but there is a possibility we can lower the crest down in a few days.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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