Mississippi River expected to drop in early April

Published 7:58 pm Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Mississippi River should be dropping below its 43-foot flood stage sometime in early April, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service Office in Jackson said.

Hydrologist Marty Pope said projections have the Mississippi falling below flood stage April 11. However, he said, the river is expected to rise by 2-3 feet to 44 or 45 feet by mid-April.

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The Mississippi is presently at 50.8 feet.

Pope said the projection “is a good signs for us, but we’re not out of the woods yet. It is a good look for us to eventually get that backwater region opened up again from Steele Bayou, but it shows the river at Vicksburg staying at or near the present level for the next seven days before it begins to recede.

“There is some rain forecast that could put water in the Arkansas River, which may keep the level up a little longer, but we won’t see a significant fall until the end of the month, and then, unless we get some decent rainfall, we’re going to see a pretty good recession coming down through here.”

Pope said the flooding in the Midwest should not affect the lower Mississippi River Valley, adding rivers in the lower half of the valley are dropping. The Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio meets the Mississippi, is presently at 52.3 feet and expected to be at 46.5 feet by Tuesday.

Right now, Pope said, extended forecasts are not showing a lot of rainfall, “But if something gins up a little stronger than the early models are showing, that gives us a big deal (problem).

“We’re still early in the (rainy) season; April is our peak season, and can go well into May. Right now, it looks good from where we’ve been; it’s just we’re still going to have to keep an eye on things.

“We still have some snowmelt, and the timing of the snow melt with heavy rains and things like that are potentials this time of year. We still have some pretty good amounts of snow up in Wisconsin and Minnesota right now.”

While the Mississippi begins to recede, water in the Yazoo backwater continues to rise. The level Thursday morning was at 96.8 feet, and is still projected to 97 to 97.5. Once the water reaches past 97 feet, water will cover Mississippi 1 and Mississippi 465, forcing residents in the Eagle Lake Community to go further north to catch 465 on the mainline levee to get home. Water also covers Eagle Lake Shore Road inside Eagle Lake.

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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