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Big Black River’s level might fall short of record

Multiple days of rain, particularly in the upper end of the Big Black River Basin, have been responsible for high water on the Big Black River at Bovina.

“We’ve just had so much rain, it can’t drain out,” said Marty Pope, hydrologist with the National Weather Service Office in Jackson. “We got hit pretty hard last week (April 13) that took it from 26 feet up to about 34 feet.”

He said the river’s level fell this week after the rain, but water from the northern end of the basin in Bentonia and West came downstream and again increased the level at Bovina.

Presently, the level at Bovina is 39.03 feet, more than 11 feet above the river’s 28-foot flood state in Warren County. The Thursday rains were projected to increase the level to 39.9 feet, which Pope said “is a major flood down along the lower ends (of the river).”

He said the river’s projected height will not be a record. The record, he said, was 40.77 feet in 1983. In April 1979 it was 40.56, and in December 1961 was 40.53.

“This one here, if it get as high as it is, it could go to the No. 4 position,” he said.

“The key to all this depends on where the heavy rain lines up and how much gets dumped on Bovina that’s going to cause it to go up.”

Pope said the Big Black goes as far north as Webster County and runs through Montgomery County, Holmes County, Madison and between Hinds and Warren.

“They just had so much rain in the upper ends of the basin, that all this has just pushed it (the river level) up,” he said, pointing out that over the last 30 days, rainfall in the upper basin ran from 110 percent to 175 percent above normal.

“They’ve just kept having rainfall after rainfall in the basin, and it takes a long way to work its way down,” Pope said, “Then when it got hit with that other rainfall when it got low, that just aggravated things. The upper end of it kept getting hammered, then the lower basin as well.”

He said the seven-day forecast shows a drop in the rainfall.

“If we can get the seven days, that would be big.”

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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