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Barry has minimal effect on river levels

The heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Barry that fell in the Arkansas River Basin should not affect the Mississippi River, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service said.

The storm’s rains hit the Arkansas River Basin Monday and were stationary for a short period of time before moving north. But meteorologist Alan Campbell said river stage forecasts indicate the rain north of Mississippi should not impact the river’s stage here.

The worst rainfall from Barry fell in Southwest Louisiana, away from this portion of the Mississippi River basin.

“It at least looks like through Friday, it’s almost steady,” Campbell said, adding a check of several gauge locations along the Mississippi River does not show any increase in river stage.

“It does looks like they are going to have a slight fall,” Campbell said.

Presently, the Mississippi River at Vicksburg is 48.5 feet. It is forecast to fall to 47 feet by Saturday and to 46.2 feet Monday.

Barry was expected to unleash 6 to 10 inches of rain in Warren County, with higher amounts possible in the Backwater and Delta areas.

Campbell said rainfall estimates indicated about 4 to 8 inches fell in the Vicksburg area as the storm veered a bit farther west than originally forecast.

The Backwater received minimal impacts from Barry, said Drew Smith, chief of the Water Management Section for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District.

“Rainfall totals came in less than what was initially forecasted,” Smith said. “The Steele Bayou and Little Sunflower structures are open, and will remain open barring any major rise in the Mississippi, and we anticipate major improvements in water levels in the coming weeks.”

Peter Nimrod, chief engineer for the Mississippi Levee Board in Greenville, said the southern portion of the Delta received 5 to 6 inches of rain.

“And the more you moved up (north), it dropped down to less than 5 inches,” Nimrod said. “Definitely, right on top of the backwater, the problem area, is where it got most of the rain. In Greenville, we received about 3 inches.”

The weekend rain increased the water level in the Backwater Area to 97.5 feet on Monday, Nimrod said. It fell to 97.3 Tuesday, and 97.2 feet on Wednesday.

The water, Nimrod said, is “On its way back out again, and the river keeps dropping, which means more and more head (flow) coming through that structure. Steele Bayou’s open, Little Sunflower’s open; all the gates are open, so we’re fixing to see a drop.”

In the wake of Barry, a major heat wave will blanket the U.S. More than 100 local heat records are expected to fall Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. A heat advisory was in effect for 29 counties in Mississippi, including Sharkey and Issaquena, on Wednesday.

A high pressure system stretching from coast to coast is keeping the heat turned on. The heat and humidity are made to feel worse by the large amount of moisture in the air coming from the Gulf of Mexico, much of it left over from Barry.

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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